Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Fall to the Ground

Acts 9:3 Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?"
3 Ἐν δὲ τῷ πορεύεσθαι ἐγένετο αὐτὸν ἐγγίζειν τῇ Δαμασκῷ, ἐξαίφνης τε αὐτὸν περιήστραψεν φῶς ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ 4  καὶ πεσὼν ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν ἤκουσεν φωνὴν λέγουσαν αὐτῷ· Σαοὺλ Σαούλ, τί με διώκεις;

This is the story of Saul's conversion on the Damascus road.  I am often amazed at those who fight against the doctrine of election.  Here we have a crystal-clear case of someone who absolutely hated everything about Jesus and yet was radically converted.  What was his reaction to the light from heaven?  He πεσὼν ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν.  This is a participle for the word "falling."  My take on this is that he heard the voice as he was in the act of contritely falling to the ground.

There are a couple of things that I take from this text.  One is that I believe Saul's conversion experience was normative.  I don't mean that we are all blinded by light and hear a voice from heaven, but we are all naturally in a state where we hate Christ.  It takes a supernatural act to make us at least metaphorically fall to the ground and worship.

The other is that there was no halfway with Saul.  He went from violently hating Christians to being violently persecuted for preaching Christ.  We will see this over and over again as we go through Acts.  My point is that this notion of half-hearted American Christianity has no biblical basis.  Either our hearts are set on worshiping Jesus or we worship ourselves.

We all have to decide which way we are going to go.  Where is your heart right now?

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