There is a reasonable expectation when you are first saved things will be better in your life. After all, the floundering around in a sinful and unsatisfying life has come to an end.
The mercilessness, and gracelessness, lying, hard-heartedness, blindness and callousness has been overcome. The self-seeking focus on the things of the world which cannot satisfy is over. Religion is mercifully dead, having been replaced by a loving personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
What could be better than that – and how could things in your personal life not follow right along in a pattern of blessing?
The truth is, things in your life in this world may in fact get more difficult – and Saul of Tarsus’ life exemplifies that.
There is more written in God’s Word about the early days of Saul’s post-conversion life than any other man. It is arguably the greatest example of all conversions contained in God’s Word – because we see Saul was saved from so much. No one we can think of was so guilty and so unworthy of God’s love and grace as Saul of Tarsus. How could Saul’s life NOT be better after he was saved than it was before?
The first thing we note is his total rejection by those who knew Saul prior to his coming to Christ. He would have immediately lost his position as the rising star of Judaism, his seat on the Sanhedrin, and been rejected with the same venom he had spewed in seeking to wipe out the disciples of Jesus prior to his conversion. Had he lost his wife as well? (Saul / Paul spent his life in ministry as a single man.)
The second thing we note is the difficulty of being accepted by the disciples of Jesus at Jerusalem. Saul had been so vilified in their eyes it was hard for those he persecuted with such venom to accept the work Jesus had done in his life – or that Jesus would do work in his life. This may seem surprising to us, but it is the nature of grace.
For grace to be grace, it must work for the worst of these – and Saul of Tarsus was certainly in that category. And for those who have known you prior to your salvation, the same may be true of you.