800px-La_conversion_de_Saint_Paul_GNot that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” (Phil. 3:12).

I found this to be a fascinating verse.

The King James says that God “apprehended” Paul.

That word at first blush seems very strong to us, a word used in police work.

Was Paul was arrested, collared and even “busted” by God?

Well, having seen the actions of Saul of Tarsus now called Paul, this does not seem so far-fetched. Once, he thought he believed right and lived right-better than anyone he knew. But later, he described himself as the foremost of sinners on God’s most wanted list and an insolent opponent of the gospel of Christ (see 1 Tim 1:12-17).

Christ took hold of him right on the street as it were, not even in “church.”  He was not a religious clone like so many today. He was saved by grace not human method’s. A light from heaven flashed and it incapacitated and blinded him (Acts 9). Jesus stopped him in his tracks wondering why Saul continued to persecuted HIM.

Paul was attempting to stop the gospel of Jesus and Jesus stopped him.

Thank God the religious right, or “progressive” left had no say in this! Paul at worst was not executed, nor thrown into prison or at best given community service.  In fact, Paul would be God’s favored instrument, “to turn people from darkness to light and from Satan’s control to God’s.” (Acts 26:16). 

Paul says that Christ took possession of him that day and made him his own. The word used for “take hold of” or “apprehend”  is katalambanō and Thayer describes it as “Christ by his holy power and influence laying hold of the human mind and will, in order to prompt and govern it.”

That is an awesome description of salvation. 

Salvation was the intervention of God and his kingdom in the human heart. Christ had to put the brakes on Saul’s deception that would have destroyed him. He dried up his religious momentum with one phrase, “I am Jesus!” 

He was blinded to his deeds for God and confronted with Christ, by Christ. All his deeds all his religious beauty became pale, his pious strength drained from him, and his theological vigor disappeared and his ecclesiastical energy was gone (see Dan 10:8). He found nothing mattered to the one true God except the person and work of his beloved son, Jesus. 

Some would be resistant (no pun intended) to this God being so enterprising in his saving grace. But the biblical understanding surely shows that God is eager to save us from our sins and give us eternal life. Salvation is found only in Christ.

The words “I am Jesus” are the words that bring light to the darkest of hearts and thank God today we are busted by his grace.

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