Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest
and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
Now as he was going along and approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.
He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
He asked, “Who are you, Lord?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.
But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.”
The men who were traveling with him stood speechless because they heard the voice but saw no one.
Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus.
For three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.
Now there was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” He answered, “Here I am, Lord.”
The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul. At this moment he is praying,
and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.”
But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints in Jerusalem;
and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who invoke your name.”
But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring my name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel;
I myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.”
So Ananias went and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored. Then he got up and was baptized,
and after taking some food, he regained his strength.
For several days he was with the disciples in Damascus,
and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.”
All who heard him were amazed and said, “Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem among those who invoked this name? And has he not come here for the purpose of bringing them bound before the chief priests?”
Saul became increasingly more powerful and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Messiah.
After some time had passed, the Jews plotted to kill him,
but their plot became known to Saul. They were watching the gates day and night so that they might kill him;
but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a basket.
When he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples; and they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple.
But Barnabas took him, brought him to the apostles, and described for them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had spoken boldly in the name of Jesus.
So he went in and out among them in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord.
He spoke and argued with the Hellenists; but they were attempting to kill him.
When the believers learned of it, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.
Meanwhile the church throughout Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and was built up. Living in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.
Now as Peter went here and there among all the believers, he came down also to the saints living in Lydda.
There he found a man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden for eight years, for he was paralyzed.
Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; get up and make your bed!” And immediately he got up.
And all the residents of Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.
Now in Joppa there was a disciple whose name was Tabitha, which in Greek is Dorcas. She was devoted to good works and acts of charity.
At that time she became ill and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in a room upstairs.
Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, who heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him with the request, “Please come to us without delay.”
So Peter got up and went with them; and when he arrived, they took him to the room upstairs. All the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing tunics and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was with them.
Peter put all of them outside, and then he knelt down and prayed. He turned to the body and said, “Tabitha, get up.” Then she opened her eyes, and seeing Peter, she sat up.
He gave her his hand and helped her up. Then calling the saints and widows, he showed her to be alive.
This became known throughout Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.
Meanwhile he stayed in Joppa for some time with a certain Simon, a tanner.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.
For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,
so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.
To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.
For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot,
and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.
So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh—
for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!”
it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us.
For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God;
for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope
that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now;
and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.
For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen?
But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.
And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family.
And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.
What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?
He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else?
Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.
Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.
Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all day long;
we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,
nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.