Ephesians 2:8-9, For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
I think of all the apostles who’ve experienced the grace of God, Paul’s conversion is most indicative of God’s grace. He was a devout Pharisee who took it upon himself to persecute Christians and murder them. In Acts 9:1-22, we see a great reversal in Paul’s life. Jesus is known for doing this—performing great reversals. On his way to Damascus to persecute more Christians, Jesus shows Himself to Paul. Paul can understand what He’s saying, but the men traveling with him couldn’t understand Him, although they could hear His voice. Jesus asks him why he’s persecuting Him, and Paul asks Him who He is, to which Jesus reveals His identity and tells him to continue his journey to Damascus and wait for further instructions. Jesus left, leaving Paul blind, and he didn’t eat or drink for three days. (Jesus’ appearance and conviction may have driven Paul to fast as part of his repentance and contrition.) During these days, Jesus appears to Ananias who’s also in Damascus, and tells him to go to Paul (whose name was Saul before Jesus changed his name), explaining that Paul received a vision that a man named Ananias would visit him and cure his blindness. Ananias arrives, cures his blindness, and baptises Paul; and Paul spends several days with the disciples and began proclaiming the name of Jesus Christ as the Son of God, increasing in strength.
Only the grace of God allowed this to happen. Only by the grace of God could a murderer filled with such antipathy be converted to a Christ follower (Christian) and begin teaching Christ to the people in great wisdom. It is not reason or logic that leads one to conversion, but the grace of God. What a remarkable gift His grace truly is. Many of us may not have had such a dramatic conversion experience. Some of us may not even remember when it was. This is especially true for a lot of Lutherans, for most of them are born into Lutheranism and are raised as believers their entire lives. I assure you, we don’t need a dramatic experience in order to be truly converted. When I was young in the faith, I often questioned my conversion when I heard peoples’ amazing testimonies of their dramatic conversion experience. I never had such an experience; I confessed Jesus as my Lord and Saviour at an altar call during a large Christian conference called Acquire the Fire. Not exactly a dramatic experience, but it was dramatic for me nonetheless. Many churches bring people up on the altar to share their dramatic conversion experience, captivating their audience. These testimonies are great and all, but what about those of us who haven’t had a crazy dramatic experience in our conversion? Why are these people with dramatic conversions praised and we’re not recognised for our conversion? It begins to seem as if conversions are only based on emotional experiences, and you all already know how I feel about emotions as part of our religious experience when I talked about Worshiping God. You don’t need to feel emotion when you convert, although it can be an emotional experience for some of us. The moment you confess Jesus as Lord and Saviour, you’re converted; you have received the gift of God’s grace.
Even if we don’t have a dramatic testimony to share about our conversion, a great reversal still occurs in our lives. We go from being enemies of God to friends of God. (Feel free to read about this concept of being friends of God in my article with Geeks Under Grace, From Villains to Friends of God.) We experience a great reversal in our Baptism when we go from being orphans who are estranged from God to becoming adopted children of God (Ephesians 1:5). Through our Baptism, God helps us to overcome our blindness to sin and gives us spiritual insight on our lives and the world around us. God strengthens our faith through His gracious gifts of Baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and His words in Scripture. Let us, then, remember our Baptism, partake of the Lord’s Supper as often as we can, and hear God’s Word in our churches and read it in our homes all the more as the Last Day draws near.