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Page 166

Why is the proclaiming of God's salvation different from teaching man's salvation?

    The man was silent for a considerable length of time. Then struggling with deep emotions, he cried in desperation, "I am a murderer! I've killed innocent people. My sins are terrible, Reverend. I'm as bad as they come! Tell me now, does the Bible give any hope for me?"

    The minister opened his Bible to Isaiah 1. "Yes, there is hope," he answered. "Let me read it to you: 'Come now and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool' " (Isaiah 1:18).

    How did the minister's knowledge that God's regenerating work is sovereign, almighty, and irresistible, enable him to proclaim that salvation is possible - even for criminals and murderers?

    In Acts 9:1-16, we read of Paul's regeneration and conversion:

    And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest.

    And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.

    And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:

    And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?

    And he said, Who art Thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

    And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.

    And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.

    And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus.

    And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.

    And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.

    And the Lord said unto him, Arise and go into the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,

    And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.

    Then Ananias anwered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to Thy saints at Jerusalem:

    And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on Thy Name.

    But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto Me, to bear My Name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:

    For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for My Name's sake.

    - Acts 9:1-16

    Can you locate the four scriptural characteristics of regeneration in this story? Where is each most clearly portrayed?

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