Saul had a religious experience while he was on the road to Damascus. A great light shined on him and “he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? And he said, Who are You, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads” (Acts 9:4,5). Saul surely became a believer at this time, but was he saved at the point of faith—by faith only?
If he was saved by faith only, Jesus did not know it, because when Saul asked what to do, Jesus told him to “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do” (v. 6). Jesus did not say “you are already saved,” or “there is nothing for you to do.” He told Saul that he would be told in the city what he must do.
If Saul was saved by faith only, Ananias did not know it because when he was sent to him, he said “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). Jesus told Saul to “go into the city, and you will be told what you must do,” but the only thing Ananias told Saul to do was to be baptized to wash away his sins.
If he was saved the moment he believed, Saul did not know it. He went into the city and fasted and prayed for three days (Acts 9:9). When Paul told about his conversion, he told the Jews in Jerusalem that Ananias told him to “arise and be baptized and wash away your sins” (22:16). Later, he wrote the book of Romans and plainly told when he was saved. “Or do you now know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ.
Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:3,4). Paul included himself among those baptized into the death of Christ. At that point, “our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin” (v. 6). Saul was saved just like the Romans were saved, when he was “buried with Him through baptism into death.” Before his baptism, he was dead in sin, but when he was baptized into Christ’s death, he died to sin (vs. 2,7).
If Saul was saved on the road to Damascus, the Holy Spirit did not know it, because He inspired Luke to write this account. The Holy Spirit did not tell Luke to write that Saul became a believer on the road to Damascus, therefore he was saved and now needs to be baptized because he has been saved. He had Luke to write the same thing He had Mark to write. “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mk. 16:16). Neither Mark nor Luke wrote that a person who believes is saved and should be baptized!
No, Saul was not saved on the road to Damascus. He was saved when he obeyed what he was told to do.