We know of Saul’s (Paul’s) conversion on the Road to Damascus. He had recently led the stoning of Stephen, the first martyr. He was on his way to Damascus to oversee the imprisonment and execution of new Christians.
Yet, in his letters, Paul shows no remorse, is not apologetic for his actions against Christians before his conversion.
Paul does speak to his prior life as a persecutor of Christians in Galatians:
|13For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. 14I was advancing in Judaism beyond many Jews of my own age and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. (Galatians 1:13-14)|
Why no apology or show of remorse?
Paul simply viewed his prior life as irrelevant!
Let’s look at 2 Corinthians:
|17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. (2 Corinthians 5:17-19a)|
There are two phrases of tremendous importance here:
17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
A new creation, the old is dead and gone.
God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them.
And as such our past sins are washed entirely away.
Paul did acknowledge his prior life as Saul. He needed to do so to establish his credibility. Beyond that, they had no meaning to him. They were gone in the eyes of God and therefore irrelevant.
There is an important lesson to us here. far too often we continue to beat ourselves up over past transgressions even after we have confessed and repented our sins. We need to learn these lessons from Paul and not look back. Remember what happened to Lot’s wife?
BE that new creation!