"It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.…" 1 Timothy 1:15-16
Paul, formerly know as Saul, was undoubtedly one of the most faithful followers of Jesus Christ writing 13 books of the New Testament. Acts 18:31 tells us that, "He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance!" But before his conversion on the road to Damascus, he was by all definitions a religious terrorist who, without remorse, persecuted many in "the name of God". Acts 8:3 tells us that, "Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison." By God's mercy, Paul was not only forgiven but given the opportunity to serve the one true God he had been searching for.
God can certainly save anyone including those who have done horrible things to others. Forgiveness is not easy but it is necessary. It is a process we must repeat daily... sometimes hourly but God's amazing grace can transform those lives we believe to be lost and use them for His glory. It is not our job to condemn but to "demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life." Yes, even the worst of sinners can be saved... and forgiven.
Heavenly Father, thank you for forgiving us of our sins. We are all sinners deserving of death. And yet, You came that we all might hear the story of salvation, believe in You and be saved. Help us to resist condemning those that have hurt us and to, in love, share the story of the mercy and grace in the life of Paul and to explain that You have the power to change the life of even the worst sinner. Remind us that You can take the broken pieces of a sinner's life and make them into a masterpiece putting redemption on display for all to see and know that You are God! It's in your precious name we pray, Jesus. Amen.
Forgiveness - Toby Mac