Truth is My Sword, Volume II
by Bo Hi Pak
Chapter 32 Saul and Paul
New York, New York
April 22, 1979
In this sermon, Dr. Pak uses the dramatic conversion of St. Paul to illustrate the law of indemnity and the power of the truth.
Good morning, our brothers and sisters. I have not forgotten you. Did you have a wonderful, God-centered week? I pray that we will increase His Kingdom this coming week. Here in the New York metropolitan area, we are in a 120-day crusade and we are approaching the final week. Today we worship together in this auditorium to renew our loyalty, love, and enthusiasm to increase his Kingdom in the coming week.
Two weeks ago I preached about an important disciple of Jesus whose name was Stephen. Today I want to share with you about another great individual, probably the greatest name in the history of Christianity, St. Paul.
The title of my sermon today is "Saul and Paul." Of course, I am talking about one person. Saul was Paul's name before his conversion. The important thing is that Paul and Saul are one and the same individual. Saul was a very wicked man, an enemy of God, persecuting the disciples of Jesus with all his might. In those days of the first century, he was truly a great enemy of Jesus Christ. He was a most feared person among the Christians. I don't think any name today is comparable to the Saul of the first century. We have notorious names such as Ted Patrick. We have infamous names like Congressman Fraser. We have unkindly statesmen like Senator Robert Dole. But all these people combined don't match the magnitude of Saul.
Saul was a great leader, full of energy and enthusiasm. He had conviction. He was capable. He was a fiery speaker, probably comparable to Billy Graham. But he was working for Satan and his power was destructive, devastating, and formidable.
But then he became Paul. After he became Paul, all the qualities he demonstrated against God, against Jesus Christ, he now concentrated and used for the sake of God, for the sake of Jesus Christ, for the sake of Christianity. He became a great soul in Christian history. Today among many theologians Christianity is known as St. Paul's religion. That is how much Paul molded the tradition of Christianity, and his sermons and letters became part of the Bible.
We can learn many lessons from St. Paul's most dramatic conversion. Please remember that Saul and Paul are one and the same person. Paul was the restored Saul. We know clearly that the work of God is the work of restoration. Today we see out there the world of Saul: New York City, the great city of Saul today. There is also the nation of Saul, the world of Saul. But there is hope when we read the dramatic conversion of St. Paul. The city of New York can be a Paul City. The nation can be a Paul nation. This world of ours can be a Paul world.
I Was a Saul
Also, at one time you and I were Saul. Today we are living as Paul. Before I came to God and Divine Principle, I was a Saul. Let me dwell a few moments on my personal testimony.
In 1950 when the Korean War broke out, I was studying in a military academy comparable to West Point. I was a cadet and I was looking forward to becoming a general one day. That was my hope and ambition. Not as much as St. Paul, but I was an ambitious young Korean man, 21 years old, with bubbling enthusiasm and vitality. Then the Korean War came June 25, 1950. On that very day, I was already at the frontline. In three days, two-thirds of our classmates, approximately 220 comrades in the West Point of Korea, were killed in action. That was the beginning of my military life. During the three years of the Korean War, I really learned the emptiness of human life. I became a searcher for the meaning of life.
One time I was leading a company of 200 men. We came to a river. Everything seemed clear, and I asked my men to put their gear on top of their heads and forge across the river. There was a cliff in front of us. It seemed to be a peaceful day, almost like a picnic. Then all of a sudden, when every man was in the water, a shower of bullets came right across the river from the top of the cliff. The Chinese army struck with their machine guns at this most vulnerable moment when everybody was in the water. We were absolutely defenseless. Before I could even give any orders, most of the men collapsed and the water immediately turned crimson red with their blood.
I was still on the river bank. I fell to the ground, but there was not much to take cover behind. I pulled a big stone out of the sand. I became like Samson. I don't know where that strength came from. I used the stone to protect my head. But under those circumstances, even though you may not be killed instantly, if you are hit in the arm or leg, you are finished because you have many, many hundreds of miles to retreat. With a wounded arm or leg you cannot go on. It would be better, if you are destined to die, to be killed instantly. But instinct drove me to take cover.
At that very moment, I felt God. I needed God. And in the very next split second I felt: I don't have God. I called the name of God and knew my heart was empty. I called the name of God and found that I was not ready to die. I was not prepared to die. A very empty feeling. Then I felt there is only one thing. If I survive this, God, I will worship you. I will find you. I need religion. But as a soldier, I knew what I really needed was military help. I needed United Nations bombers. They could attack the enemy and maybe I could escape. And exactly as I was thinking that, four fighter bombers appeared in the sky and began to bombard the enemy with rockets. The enemy had to take cover so the shower of bullets decreased. I stood up and checked my body. That was professional training. You have to check your body because sometimes in battle you are wounded, but you don't recognize the pain. I found myself whole, intact. Then I shouted to my men to follow me. But there were almost no men to follow. Only two men were alive and trying to follow me but they were seriously wounded. During the bombardment I escaped.
At that time I knew that Bo Hi Pak was dead. For some reason, some power saved me. I must make good on my promise. I must find God. I decided to become a religious person who will find the meaning of life and the meaning of death.
In 1952, I came to Fort Benning, Georgia, for military training for six months. I saw the Christian nation of America blessed by God. I decided to become a Christian. I was baptized into the Church of Christ in Columbus, Georgia.
My Heart Was Cold
For five more years, I kept searching for the meaning of God. I was searching for the true meaning of the Bible. I was reading. I was attending church regularly. But my heart, for some reason, was not ignited. I was not really burning in zeal or religious fervor. I still found myself very cold. God was not real to me. One day the Church of Christ minister approached me and said, "Would you like to go to the United States to finish your degree? Our church will pay you a full scholarship. Your trip, dormitory, everything." The only condition was that when I returned I would have to become a Church of Christ minister. I spent a sleepless night. The next morning I went to the minister and said in a heartbroken way, no, I cannot do it. Why? Because God is not real in my heart. I cannot preach to anyone if God is not real to me. I simply cannot become a hypocrite. It is one condition I cannot accept. If he wanted me to become a slave, I would have been happy to do it. But to become a church minister, no, because God is not real to me. So I gave up that opportunity.
Five years later, in 1957, I met Reverend Moon. I learned the Divine Principle. I never had the title of "reverend," but ever since I met Reverend Moon, one thing is sure: I am fired up with the zeal and fervor of God. The Divine Principle made God so real to my heart. This morning I was sitting in the chair thinking about those days. I refused to preach to anyone because God was not real to me. But now here I am willing to speaking to you brothers and sisters, even in English, which is not my mother tongue. I know I cannot convey fully what I want to convey. I know I cannot be eloquent like David Hose or Billy Graham or Oral Roberts. These are not my competitors. But here I am, genuinely trying to convey that I have found God through the Divine Principle. I have found the purpose of life and I will gladly give my life for the purpose of God. That is my testimony. It is not like the dramatic story of St. Paul, but you know I was a Saul one day and became a Paul. Everyone one day is Saul and will become Paul one way or another.
Today I would like to share with you several lessons from St. Paul's dramatic conversion. First, you might ask God why He chose a man like Paul, the worst enemy of God in the first century. There were priests and many well-educated people. But God bypassed everybody and asked Saul to serve Him. I want you to understand that Saul's dramatic conversion could not take place without Stephen's great sacrifice.
As you know, Stephen was the first martyr in Christian history. Satan took the very best member of Christianity of those days. They didn't have too many members. But Stephen was one of the best champions of God in those early days of the Christian church. And Satan claimed the best of God's soldiers, Stephen. I want you to understand that the law of indemnity is always at work. Satan claimed the best soldier of God. Because of that condition God now claimed the best soldier of Satan. Saul was chosen.
God Needs People of Passion
I want you to understand the Bible. Revelation 3:15-17 says, "I know your works; you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth." This is a very important passage for us to know. God needs either a cold man or a hot man because these two extreme temperatures have something in common-passion. This is their common characteristic. Saul was extremely cold. Icy cold. Yet he was a man of passion, a man of justice. Saul went after the disciples, one after the other, because he believed that Christianity was truly evil. He believed that exterminating Christianity was the work of God. That is why he was doing it. He was a most effective destroyer of Christianity because he believed in it. His conscience, in a way, was clear. He didn't know the true aspect of Christianity. In other words, he was totally ignorant about Christianity, but he had passion, ability, leadership.
So, when God claimed Saul, he was stricken by the light from heaven and heard a great voice. He became blind. The old self of Saul was dead. He became a new man. Out of his new vision, he saw the new truth. He no longer was in darkness. He saw who Jesus Christ was. So then the cold passion turned into God's passion. From then on he was an extraordinary worker for God.
Today we are in the same boat. When you go out and preach the gospel of God, the Divine Principle, don't worry if the person you are witnessing to is negative initially. I want you to understand that the work of God is done, not by you, but by the power and spirit of God Himself. In the conversion of St. Paul, it was Jesus who directly intervened, not the preaching of any disciple. Jesus struck him down. By the same token, if you are today truly working in the spirit of God, I want you to know that the extraordinary power of God and the Holy Spirit is working with you. Do not judge that this man is hopeless or that man is of God. It does not work in that fashion. The worst enemy can become the best disciple of God. That was the case 2,000 years ago and can be true today.
Christianity itself is truly the religion of indemnity. Two thousand years ago Satan claimed Jesus Christ and nailed him to the cross. Nailing Jesus to the cross was like destroying the entire will of God because no one else on earth represented God's will. Jesus Christ was the only son of God living here on earth. The rest of the world is the world of Satan in the sight of God. So when Satan nailed Jesus Christ down on the cross, he nailed the entire world of God to the cross. This was the greatest victory Satan could claim.
By the law of indemnity, since Satan claimed the entire world of God by crucifying Jesus, now God can claim the world of Satan by resurrecting Jesus Christ from the tomb. By believing in Jesus, the entire world can be saved. In other words, God claimed the entire satanic world. It doesn't make any difference whether you are Korean or American or Japanese or Eskimo-whoever comes to the name of Jesus Christ shall be saved. Salvation was made universal. Because Satan claimed the entire world of God, now God by the power of the resurrection can claim the entire world of Satan.
Millions Will Rise Up
Today many policymakers of this country or some of our adversaries sometimes think that by removing Reverend Moon from this country, the problem of the Unification Church will be ended. But this is not how the law of indemnity operates. As Reverend Moon himself has preached: "Do you think that knocking me down or killing me or deporting me from this country threatens the Unification Church? No. If I die, if somebody destroys me, millions of Reverend Moons will rise up and continue the task."
The work of God in the history of Christianity has always been nonviolent. When Jesus' army landed in Rome and the Roman Empire, which was truly the entire world in those days, they didn't have any arms. This was a nonviolent, bare-handed army. But in 400 years, the Roman Empire collapsed in front of this feeble army through the law of indemnity. You pay the price and God can claim it. Acts 9:10-16 describes how after Saul's conversion experience Jesus instructed Ananias to go find Saul and bless him so that he would regain his sight. Ananias resisted this command, saying Saul was doing much evil to Jesus' followers. Jesus answered that Saul was his chosen instrument and that he would "show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name."
Why does almighty God have to make His people suffer? All the disciples of Jesus suffered. Saint Paul was already ordained for suffering. Why? I want you to understand suffering has two meanings in Christianity and today in the Unification Church as well. Through suffering you can show your true loyalty to God. In an easy, comfortable way of life, there is no way you can set yourself apart as different from others. Under adverse conditions you prove who you are, whether you are sons and daughters of God. In Divine Principle we say by being willing to cope with suffering we can set ourselves apart from Satan. Satan will have no more to say about you and me. The greatest of all the tests we are going through is liberation from Satan. Satan is holding every man here on earth. We must chop that tie. We must separate ourselves from Satan and move into God's camp. That is what our job is all about today.
In order to separate from Satan you must prove that Satan has no way to accuse you anymore. In other words, Satan must surrender and say to God: this man is truly your man-you can have him. Satan must release us so that we can move into God's camp. For this reason the best way to pay indemnity is by absolute loyalty and gratitude. No matter how much great work you do or how much you suffer, if you do it with a very conditional and complaining heart, it does not bring you any good. You are wasting your energy and time. Therefore, two key words in Christianity to become a godly man are: unconditional faith and total commitment. This is very difficult to do, particularly today in the American way of life. People are always looking for excuses and protection. We want to have insurance. In business, we have contracts between this company and that company, with brilliant lawyers working to protect their interests. They like to have some loophole so that they can escape. But when you face the work of God, the wisest thing to do is to give your unconditional devotion and unconditional dedication and total commitment. That is the essence of the Christian faith. This is the one thing Satan cannot have any claim on. Satan will surrender to this attitude of absolute loyalty.
Remember Abraham. God gave Abraham an unreasonable instruction. One day God said to Abraham, I need your son. Take your son to Mount Moriah and offer him in a burnt offering. Kill him and offer him to me. This was unreasonable, illogical, even crazy. There were thousands of complaints Abraham could choose to make. He could say, "What kind of God are you? How cruel you are. Didn't you say I would have this son so that my generations will be like the stars in the sky and the sand in the ocean? You gave me this son when I was 100 years old. You know I am not going to have any more sons. If I kill him, how can I be the father of thousands and thousands of generations?"
Abraham could have complained, but he chose not to. He knew that these instructions came from God and he accepted them unconditionally. He had a willing and a grateful heart. It was a three-day journey to Mount Moriah. I know that was a painful three days. You know Isaac constantly asked him, "Father, we have a knife, we have wood, but where is the sheep?" When his father heard such questions how much his heart must have broken. He unconditionally obeyed and he went to Mount Moriah and finally bound his son upon the altar and lifted up the knife. He was totally obedient. He had not even a single trace of complaint. In that moment, what happened? God said in a loud voice from heaven, Abraham, Abraham, I know now that you fear Me. Do not kill him. You already passed the test. You have proved yourself worthy to receive My blessing.
In terms of the Divine Principle, God was saying that Abraham was free from satanic accusation. With that kind of faith, Satan had no more claim on him.
A Ransom to Satan
Jesus Christ's severe test came to him when he was hanging on the cross. The Bible records that Jesus shouted out saying, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" which means "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Jesus knew God had given up on him. God was giving him as a ransom to Satan. Why have you forsaken me? But it was not said out of a disobedient heart. It can be seen very obviously in the final words Jesus spoke, "Father, forgive them for they know not know what they do."
Jesus was dying as the messiah for the salvation of the people. As he was dying, he was asking God to save and forgive his enemy. What total faith, what total commitment, what total gratitude. Upon such faith indeed the power of God resurrected him and brought salvation to mankind.
Today let us move in this spirit. Let us not be wise men in earthly terms. Truly wise men in God's sight look like fools in the sight of the world. So we Unification Church members will accept the criticism that we look like damn fools. St. Paul himself said, "Yes, we are fools for Christ." Let us become today fools for God. In the sight of God, we will be truly wise men and women.
There is another point I want to emphasize from Acts 9. When God appeared in the power of Jesus Christ and St. Paul shouted out saying, "Who are you, Lord?" Jesus said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting." Jesus did not say, "I am Jesus, whose disciples you are persecuting." Jesus said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting." Actually, St. Paul didn't do any harm to Jesus. He was killing Jesus' disciples. But Jesus said, "You are persecuting me!" This is quite significant. I want you to understand. Once Jesus commissioned his disciples to preach the gospel to the four corners of the earth, every disciple's action was the action of Jesus. The disciples were walking as Jesus himself. Every single one of them was commissioned to be another Jesus. So when they received persecution, this persecution became Jesus' own. So Jesus said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting."
Today we must make ourselves champions of God. Reverend Moon says that God is looking through your eyes at the world. When you use your brain, are you thinking like God? I want you to understand your two eyes are two windows for God. God is looking at the world through your two eyes. God is talking through your mouth to the world. God is listening through your ears. From God's standpoint, your heart must be broken. This world is full of so much wickedness, ungodliness. That is why if truly you are a Christian, if truly you are the servant of God and sons and daughters of God, your heart must be broken.
So Reverend Moon has brought not just a joyful religion. Before we come to rejoice over the true joy and peace we are going to have, we must first understand the broken heart of God. We look at the world from God's standpoint. We speak to the world from God's standpoint. Then I want you to understand your battle is God's battle and God's battle becomes yours. So if anybody persecutes you, the spirit of God will say: I am God whom you are persecuting.
Finally, when you read the verses right after Saul's conversion experience, before he even left the city of Damascus, Saul was already preaching to his fellow Jewish people saying that "Jesus is the son of God." Think of it today. Let us say that the great power reveals to Senator Robert Dole, and he stands up one day saying, "I saw the power of God." Maybe someday the power of God will appear to [deprogrammer] Ted Patrick and convert him and he will say, "I thought Reverend Moon's movement was wicked and evil, and now I have found that it is godly. Now I proclaim that it is the work of God." Unthinkable, isn't it?
But I want you to understand that the worst enemy of Jesus, who was killing the disciples, turned around in the city of Damascus and began proclaiming that Jesus is the son of God. Amazing. We must respect the courage of St. Paul. Paul totally repented. He turned around without any reservation and gave his total commitment, testifying and proving that Jesus is the Christ. Today when we see the truth, let us go to the world and preach boldly. It is not easy to stand up for the truth. It is not easy. People will spit at you. People will scorn you. But that is the kind of courage we must learn from St. Paul.
In Matthew 10:32-33 Jesus said, "So every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven." Let us boldly acknowledge the work of God, have no fear, and speak the truth.
Today every one of us in this troubled world today is commissioned in the mission of St. Paul. Let us be committed and let us be bold, proclaiming to the world the truth of God.
Prayer by Bo Hi Pak:
Our Father in heaven, thank you very much that we can gather together in Your name to be Your sons and daughters. Father, we have true happiness and joy that is everlasting in our hearts. We have been given the power to overcome the difficulties, overcome the problems, even overcome the fear of death because we see your word is powerful. Thank you, Father. Bless all of the brothers and sisters gathered together in this room so that they can increase Your kingdom. We gather together to rejoice over the fellowship centered upon You. Thank You for this worship. All these things we pray in the name of Christ our Lord, amen.
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