Paul closed his eyes and braced himself for the first few seconds, which seemed like an eternity. Then came the first stone. It was small and smooth, yet it had been hurled with the force and accuracy of a major-league pitcher from close range. When it made contact with his flesh, it stung like a swarm of angry hornets. Another stone followed, this one sharper and heavier than the first. This time, it made a deep gash which drew blood. Before he could recover, dozens of stones were cast in his direction, each one penetrating with greater force than the one before it — each one draining him of his life.
It seemed the barrage would never end, until at last Paul became unconscious. He woke up outside the city limits (for he was thought to be dead and his body had been dragged there), surrounded by many of his converts. Miraculously, God allowed him to survive the stoning. Perhaps He did so to remind the apostle of another stoning he had witnessed years earlier: that of Stephen, the first Christian martyr.
Could Paul, the devout, zealous apostle, have been reaping the consequences of playing accomplice to those who killed Stephen? We do not know this for sure, but it is certainly possible. At salvation we were forgiven from all of our sins, yet we may still have to pay the consequences of sins we committed before we were saved. The law of sowing and reaping still holds true, and we will not escape its effects.
Be careful of the attitude which says, “I am saved and forgiven. Now I am free from the consequences of my sinful past.” All sin carries consequences, so let us carefully consider our ways beforehand so as to avoid making sinful choices. Let us closely monitor our choice of entertainment, our places of leisure, the things we do for recreation, and even our inner circle of friends. Whether good or evil, we can be certain it will come again.
Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.