It's Time - Christ Our Righteousness
CHRIST OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS – Acts 9:1-25
- I am converted
- I am sure I am converted
- I do not know the date, place or time I was converted
What is the true meaning of conversion? We discover the answer by looking at the most famous conversion in history – Saul on the Damascus Road
Conversion – the word in the New Testament simply means to turn e.g. 1st Thessalonians 1:9-10 – you turned from idols to serve the living and true God.
Saul needed to be converted but he did not think so. Who was Saul?
- A young man of impeccable Jewish credentials and heritage
- A strict Pharisee keeping all 613 laws
- A believer in the God of the Old Testament and devoted to keeping the law of Moses – flawless in his adherence to his religion
- A fanatical opponent of the ‘heretical’ Jewish sect following Jesus
- Depending on his own efforts to keep the law to be right with God
But there was a spiritual need in Saul he could not yet see – 1st Timothy 1:12-14
- Blasphemer – saying Jesus was cursed and rejected by God
- Persecutor – he sinned against the church –he opposed God.
- Violent man – he supervised the martyrdom of Stephen; imprisoned others.
- Deceived - relying on his own efforts for salvation – Saul needed a revolution.
Now matter what our life is like – our religious heritage; our morals; our good works; or our secret sins and struggles; if Christ is not our Lord and our Righteousness then we need a complete revolution. Not a better version of ourselves, but a new self. Not improvement, or reformation but a revolution!
The revolution in Saul happened when the risen Lord Jesus Christ appeared to him in overwhelming, life-transforming power and glory on the Damascus Road
Saul was converted to the person of Christ
Christ became to him God’s revelation – the Christians were right - – Jesus was the Saviour and Messiah sent from God, the fulfilment of all the OT promises. Saul’s mind, outlook and whole worldview underwent a complete change.
Christ became his Judge – Saul, why are you persecuting me? The whole vision and foundation of your life is mistaken; Saul’s conscience was smitten by a conviction of sin.
Christ became his Righteousness – the curse Jesus bore on the cross was for Saul’s sins; his life was Saul’s perfect righteousness. His life now Saul’s example.
Over time this violent, hate-filled Jew became the Christlike missionary and loving pastor who proclaimed the unity of Jew and Gentile in the church of Christ.
Christ became Saul’s Lord – Lord what do you want me to do? He surrendered control of his life , whole future to Christ. His life was redirected
Saul was converted to the mission of Christ – he spent his life as the church’s first and greatest evangelist and eventually died as a martyr.
Christ became Saul’s great passion – his greatest desire was to know Christ, to become like Christ and make him known ( Philippians 3:9-14)
Saul was converted to the church of Christ
Christ gave him a new identity – Saul the Jew turned towards gentile believers . Christ’s people were his people. He could write - Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Colossians 3:11.
Conversion in itself is sudden – but there may be a long lead-up to it, and the exact time of it may not be known. The issue is what does our life look like now?
2 Corinthians 5:17. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation :[a] The old has gone, the new has come.
- You can be converted – if Saul could, anyone could. Jesus is unchanging.
- You must be converted – if Saul needed it, everyone needs it
- You can know you are converted – look not to the past but to the present – has your life been turned so that is centred on the person of Christ as Saviour and Lord, dedicated to the mission of Christ, and you see your primary identity as a member of the church Christ.? Then you have met the same Jesus that Saul met on the Damascus Road – you are truly converted!