The conversion of the Pharisee and Roman citizen Saul to one of the most ardent apostles of Jesus and in the service of the young Christian community is almost classical. Even in his youth a zealous religious seeker, he originally wanted the nascent Christianity with all his might until he – feeling already uncertain due to the strength of faith of his opponents – had his deciding forming awakening experience. A light shone around him and a voice tells him to be the crucified Jesus Christ. He receives the order to go to Damascus – there he will be told what he to do next. With the same zeal with which he initially pursued the Christians, he now enlarges the circle of active Christianity. Paul evangelized in Greece and Asia around 45-55 AD, until he was finally beheaded after a long imprisonment in 64 AD. The time in prison, under the most adverse circumstances and in constant fear of death, he spends mostly with writing letter to his brothers.
His belief of the inner power of the spirit that animates all human testimony and makes us sons and daughters of God, is best shown by his letter from prison in Rome to his brothers:
“Who doesn’t have the Spirit of Christ, does not belong to him. When Christ is in you, but the body is dead because of sin, the spirit is alive because of righteousness. If the Spirit that made Jesus rise from the dead lives in you, then he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. We are not obligated to the flesh, brothers, so that we have to live by the flesh. If ye live by the flesh, ye shall die; but if ye kill the (sinful) acts of the body through the Spirit, ye shall live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you slaves so that you still have to fear, but ye have received the Spirit that makes you the children of God, the spirit in which we cry: Abba, Father! Therefore the spirit is evidence to our spirit that we are God’s children. And if we are children then we are heirs. We are heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him, to be glorified with him”. (Rom 8.8 to 17)
The resurrection of Christ is not to distant future hope to him but a present reality. Whoever has the mind of Christ in the HAS already risen. “All things work for the goodof those who love God” (Rom. 8, 28)
Paul’s message is that we can be part of eternal life already here an earth – through the power of Christ within us.
Using materials from K.O. Schmidt: “In you is the light”