^^^listen while you read 🙂
We all know things. Living in the United States grants us with so many opportunities and an incredible amount of knowledge. An ability to think critically and have the world on our fingertips. Access to public free education and financial liberties other countries go to war over. As a nation, there are few things we can’t receive and this is a beautiful comparison to the climate Saul (later Paul) was raised in.
A son of both a Roman and a Jew, Saul was granted an incredible atmosphere with an education that few others had in his time. Part of the Jewish education culture at the time put Saul in Jerusalem to study the Old Testament scriptures and Saul was engrained with an intense legalistic, rigid mindset.
Unfortunately, this led to a fierce hatred of Christians and he used this incredible knowledge to persecute them. He not only had the emotional fire to go against Christians, he possessed an intellectual prowess of their religion that many would have envied at the time.
Acts 8:1-3 And Saul approved of his execution. And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. Devout men buried Stephen and made great lamentation over him. But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison.”
Then everything changed.
Acts 9:3-5 “and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.”
Paul had been blinded his entire life, told by the world that God could not save us, that God didn’t exist, and this calloused him to the point of hatred and persecution. It was not until God spoke to him from Heaven and physically blinded him did he “see” the errors of his life and the truth of God.
All of his faults, all of the horrendous sins of his life were washed away. Nothing Saul had ever done or ever could do would take away God’s love. His grace is so immense that Saul was forgiven of everything wicked thing he ever did, in an instant.
1 Timothy 1:16 “But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.”
God is love. God is patience. For any person, no matter what they have done, no matter how many times, for how long. He is absolute righteousness and can forgive you of all sin. He has promised us this astounding fact.
We are all sinners like Saul. Maybe we don’t persecute Christians. Maybe we lie to our parents or say mean things about other people but the truth is, God can see past it all. Just ask for forgiveness. We have all been presented with a choice: to stay stuck within our sin or to accept God’s gift of love, mercy, and forgiveness.
I hope that you choose Him.