How is a God-hating man transformed into a God-fearing man?
Gary Powers shares the story of Zacchaeus in this video and explains how Zacchaeus was a powerful man – he was the chief of tax collectors. He was greatly feared. Yet, he wanted to see who Jesus was and climbed up a tree to get a better view. Already, we begin to glimpse the work of regeneration in his heart. Rich, powerful men do not do this. They don’t humble themselves to the point of climbing into a tree. He was desperate and willing to suffer humiliation by climbing a tree to see Christ.
Jesus then comes, sees him, and speaks to him by name. This encounter is not by coincidence. We then see the fruit of Zacchaeus’ repentance. He gave half of his goods to the poor and if he wrongfully took what was not his, he repaid it four-fold. Taking such measures would have significantly disrupted the life that he was accustomed to. Yet, he was adhering to the law of God to make restitution. These were signs of conversion, fruit of a new life. In short, he feared God. One of the signs of conversion is that we are not terrorized by the law of God but delight in it. Nothing is too hard for God. He can change the nature of a wealthy, greedy man and turn him into a joyful giver who loves Him and loves His law.
Romans 1:16 (NKJV) – “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”