Who was Paul? He was by birth a Jew. By conviction a Pharisee. By citizenship a Roman. By education a Greek. And by grace a Christian. We can first begin learning about Paul originally when his name was Saul. He was a pious Jew and followed the law devotedly. Saul did not believe in Christ and persecuted those who did.
While Saul was traveling towards Damascus a great light flashed around him. The Scriptures tell us, “4 and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” 5 And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, 6 but get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do.” 7 The men who traveled with him stood speechless, hearing the [c]voice but seeing no one. 8 Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he [d]could see nothing; and leading him by the hand, they brought him into Damascus.” (Acts 9:4-8).
For three days he could not see. God then sent Ananias to go visit Saul. Ananias was a bit skeptical at first. Saul had just recently approved for the killing of Stephen, one of the first deacons in the early church. When Ananias went to see Saul, he laid his hands on him and said, “’Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit’ 18 And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he got up and was baptized.” (Acts 9:17-18). The name of Ananias in Hebrew means, “grace.” A person’s eyes will only be open when they have an encounter with grace. What are you seeing today?
We all have failed and need a savior, but our sin does not stop us from being able to used by God. Your past is your past, but if you continue to look back at all of the negative, you will never see your future. Saul was able to use his Roman name, “Paul” to reach the Gentiles with the gospel. Many people had duel names during these times. According to GotQuestion.org, “Using his Roman name was fitting for the man who proclaimed that he would become “all things to all people,” a Jew to the Jews in order to win the Jews, weak to the weak in order to win the weak, etc., all for the sake of the gospel (1 Corinthians 9:19–23).
It is truly the grace of God that can take a man like Saul and turn him into one of the most influential Christians to ever live. Without his life and work for Christ, much of the new testament would not be in the Bible. I think the words of Paul are enough to answer the question, “…But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more,” (Romans 5:20). God gave much grace to Paul. God is giving you much grace to you as well!