But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace,…
Conversion is a revelation, i.e., not a discovery of something new, but the unveiling of what has been hidden. No explanation for such a change as followed this revelation, save in the region of the supernatural.
1. This revelation was to St. Paul a vindication of Christ's character. St. Paul had thought Jesus an impostor; God removes the veil from his heart, and he sees Him to be the Christ, the only begotten Son of the Divine Father.
2. It was a revelation to him of his own position He not only saw who Christ was, but what he himself had been.
3. A revelation of the Divine long-suffering. When the light of that day of mercy dawned, what was the message? It might have been a message of doom; and Paul felt that. It might have been a voice of wrath, proclaiming wrath for his countless sins. But no; the voice comes with the old message of entreaty, "Why persecutest thou Me?" The voice comes with the Divine pathos and the Divine hope: "Saul, Saul, arise and stand upon thy feet, for I have appeared to thee not to hurl the bolts of judgment, not to rehearse the catalogue of thy transgressions, not to ring the knell of thy doom, but to announce the true advent of thy noblest life, to make thee a minister of My gospel, to send thee to men." What wonder, then, that Paul counts himself an example of God's long-suffering? What wonder that he speaks in such terms of redeeming love, of the riches — the unfathomed and unfathomable riches — of grace?
4. A revelation of a glorious destiny. No higher honour than to preach Christ, to be the minister of reconciliation to thousands.
5. This revelation was all-inclusive, In this Divine light, all things looked Divine. Henceforth, Jesus Christ was stamped on everything. The world was His; life was His; labour was His; love was His.
6. This revelation was ever increasing. The horizon widened. Every hour the light grew clearer, and spread to wider stretches. Even after thirty years acquaintance with Christ, Paul only feels there is so much to be known, that what he does know is as nothing to what he has yet to learn (Philippians 3:8-14). Is our conversion like his?
(T. W. Handford.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace,