It’s one of the great literary mysteries that Luke researched his account and Paul is the great hero of Acts, yet Luke does not seem to have read Paul’s letters. Unless there is something else going on, like satire.
It is often commented by secular critics that it is madness evil people should not be punished if they repent and convert. One popular cartoon is of Jesus introducing a young girl to her murderer in heaven.
The answer seems to be in the Christian notion of self-denial and suffering for the Kingdom. You self-impose on yourself a lifestyle in which you punish yourself for your sin. Price comments about former persecutor Saul:
- His conversion is a punishment, meting out to the persecutor his own medicine. Do we not detect a hint of ironic malice in Christ’s words to Ananias about Saul? “I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name” (Acts 9:16).