“Was Paul saved under the kingdom program?”
No, Paul was “a blasphemer” (I Tim. 1:13) who, as a strict, Law-abiding Pharisee (Acts 26:5), would never blaspheme the Father, but was among those who blasphemed the Spirit when they stoned Stephen (Acts 7:51-8:1). This rendered him ineligible for salvation under the kingdom program, for the Lord had warned, “him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven” (Luke 12:10).
How then could God save Saul? Well, remember that the Lord had warned, “whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come” (Matt. 12:32). The nation of Israel blasphemed the Spirit in the world that the Lord spoke of as “this world” when they rejected Stephen, a man filled with the Spirit (Acts 7:55). “The world to come” is defined in Hebrews 2:5 as the kingdom, the “world” which God will “put in subjection” under Christ, where people will fully know “the powers of the world to come” (Heb. 6:5) that they only tasted at Pentecost.
Since blasphemy against the Spirit was unforgivable in both those worlds, we know Saul was saved under the program of a whole new world, the dispensation of grace, “this world” in which we live (Eph. 1:21), “this present world” in which we are to walk and please God (Titus 2:12).
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.