Saul (later known as Paul) was a diligent persecutor of the church (Acts 8:3). While we do not know all that he did to punish Christians and attempt to destroy their faith, in Acts 26 and 1 Timothy 1, he remorsefully described some of his sins (Acts 26:11, 1 Timothy 1:13).
Saul was a zealous persecutor of the church. In Acts 9, he “went to the high priest, and asked for letters from him” that would give him the authority to travel to Damascus to arrest even more Christians (Acts 9:1).
Saul was a sincere persecutor of the church. In 1 Timothy 1:13, he wrote, “I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief.” He was trying to please and obey God in every terrible and sinful thing he did (Acts 23:1).
But as diligent, zealous, and sincere as he was before obeying the gospel, he was even more once converted. The greatest persecutor became the greatest missionary. The most zealous and sincere Pharisee became the most tireless and devoted preacher. Paul’s conversion is easier to see than anyone else in the Bible. He was willing to change every facet of His life in order to obey and belong to God.
How does our conversion compare? Are we different after becoming a Christian than before? Are we as committed to the Lord as we were to the world? Have we willingly given up everything that once separated us from God?