Paul’s Conversion -- The Work of the Holy Spirit
In the conversion of Saul of Tarsus he heard the words spoken, and the Spirit operated on him through medium. (See Acts 9:4-6: 22:16) It is recorded to the eternal memory of Cornelius that Peter preached unto him words whereby he and all his household should be saved, and while Peter yet spoke to them, “the Holy Spirit fell on all those which heard the word” (Acts 10:44-48: 11:14). This miraculous impartation was given Cornelius and his household to convince the Jews that it was right for the Gentiles to obey the gospel and be saved. Since the apostolic age the revelation of God is completed, miracles at the hands of men have ceased, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit is no longer necessary (or possible). The Spirit now impresses us through revealed truth.
The Holy Spirit used means in converting the sinners at Iconium, for Paul and Barnabas so spake that “a great multitude both of Jews and Greeks believed” (Acts 14:1). It is written of the conversion of the jailer and his family, that Paul and Silas “spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house, and he rejoiced, believing in God with all his house” (Acts 16:32-34).
The noble Bereans “searched the scriptures daily, whether these things were so, which Paul and Silas preached. Therefore many of them believed” (Acts 17:20-12) Concerning the Corinthians it is said: Many of them “hearing believed, and were baptized” (Acts 18:8). But why multiply argument on this point? Is not this proof sufficient to show that in the conversions during the first age of the church, and under the influence of the inspired teachers, the Holy Spirit always used means, and thus operated through medium in turning souls from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God? If this is insufficient, then most assuredly the utter absence of testimony to the contrary would lead us to thus conclude.
There is not in all the history of conversions to Christianity, in the first age of the church, as recorded either in or outside the Bible, one single instance of the conversion of even one soul by the work of the Spirit, except where the Spirit operated through the medium of the word of God. “The gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” (Rom. 1:16). Let the man who asserts to the contrary bring his proof.
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