As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.
The conversion of Saul is one of the most famous transformations in Christian history. Later this man became better known as the apostle Paul (see Acts 13:9), and he gives all the credit to the grace of God. “Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man,” he wrote, “… the grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly …” (1 Timothy 1:13-14).
And how abundant it was! It was invading grace. “Suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.” It was also gentle grace. The light flashed around him, not through him. God’s grace shot at his feet and worked its way to his heart.
In addition, it was overpowering grace. Paul didn’t simply kneel before God. He fell to the ground, arrested by God. Yet it was freeing grace. Paul was no longer trapped in judgmental hatred toward others.
And it was restoring grace. Paul’s relationship with God was restored as he prayed and became filled with the Spirit. Paul’s relationship with God’s people was restored when Ananias called him “Brother Saul” and baptized him. His sight and strength were restored through healing and food.
Most conversions are not so spectacular, but they are all filled with grace—invading, gentle, overpowering, freeing, restoring grace.
God of all grace, we thank you today that your grace soundly turns us from ourselves to you. May we accept your free gift of eternal life and grace. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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