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Posts Tagged ‘Saul’

When was St. Paul the Apostle Saved? (Phil 3:11-14)

Posted by Tony Listi on December 5, 2007

Rather than tackling sola fide in its entirety, perhaps it would be best to narrow our focus and ask pointed Biblical questions that may shed light on this Protestant doctrine and that allow little opportunity or wiggle room for irrelevant tangents. To be as accomodating as possible, I will even use the same Protestant phrasing and presumption in my question: When was Paul saved? I will use only Scripture to explore this question.

According to Protestantism, Paul, then Saul at the time, was saved “on the road to Damascus” (Acts 9). I mean, how can you not believe that Jesus is Lord, God, and Savior when he literally knocks you to the ground, condemns you with his own audible voice, blinds you, and then commands you to do something? But even if one doesn’t want to make this safe assumption, the Protestant must say that Paul was saved, at the very latest, when he was baptized or first preached that Jesus was the Son of God (Acts 9:20).

But interestingly, Paul himself disagrees with this account of his own salvation and thus casts doubt on all of Protestant salvation theology (soteriology). This is evident from the following verse which was written after the Damascus experience:

Philippians 3:11-14 “…that IF possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. NOT that I have ALREADY OBTAINED this or am already perfect; but I strive to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brethren, I do NOT consider that I have made it my own… I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus…. continue on the same course.” (emphasis mine)

Is there any need to quote other verses? Is it not clear that he is NOT 100% certain that he will be resurrected from the dead? Is it not clear, therefore, that even Paul, the author of at least half of the entire New Testament of Holy Inspired Scripture, an apostle chosen by Christ himself, is NOT 100% certain that he is saved?  Surely we cannot doubt his faith, can we?

Morover, do not words like “strive,” “press on,” and “continue on the same course” demonstrate that salvation happens as a process and struggle, not at a single moment in time that requires no effort afterwards to secure?

So seriously, my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, if someone like St. Paul was not assured of his own salvation, how can you be?

I thank you in advance for you generosity and charity in answering my many questions.

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