". . . a light shined around him . . ." Acts 9:3
The saving work of Christ unifies. All that Jesus made possible becomes ours through the free, living gift of God on the basis of what Christ accomplished on the cross. Our soul is reconciled to God. Our heart at peace with him. Our will is unified with God’s will. Our attitude is saved and sanctified into profound humility and grace. Salvation shifts our life into alignment.
The saving work of Christ also divides. It sends a split right down the center of our life, separating our before and after, our past from present, what we used to be from what we are becoming. At the intersection of our bad nights and our good days is the work of the Cross. The great message of the saving work of Jesus is no one has to remain the same kind of person forever.
Paul's life was a life of contrast. Before he was a persecutor of Christianity, after he was a passionate propagator. Before his life was crippled by a religious guilt, after his life was crowned with glory found in Christ. Today we are surrounded by a plethora of voices all telling us that our life is set, and settled and we should accept our wicked ways and shortcomings as our lot in life. Against those voices salvation cries out, it tells us a different story. There's a before and an after.
But where is the change? When will it be our possession? There will be no new change as long as our center remains the same. The world will stagger back and forth between war and peace, between hate and love, between the old and the new. As long as it swings from the center of self-centeredness.
So we will alternate between repentance and remorse until life is reorganized around a new center. From Saul to Paul, from Paul to Christ, how amazingly different was the course of Paul's life.
Who occupies the center of your life? You or Christ?