The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 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.
You’ve probably heard of the Apostle Paul, credited with writing much of the New Testament. No person, except for Jesus, had such an impact on shaping Christianity. So what could you and I possibly have in common with a man of such significance?
If you’re not familiar with Paul’s story, you may not know that he grew up convinced Jesus was an absolute fraud. He thought a liar had deceived those who called themselves the “Followers of the Way,” and that both they and Jesus were a danger to society. So much so that Paul received permission from the Jewish authorities of the day to hunt down, persecute, imprison, and kill any professed Christians he could find. His vengeance against those who had pledged their love and loyalty to Jesus was so brutal; it’s hard to imagine how anyone could forgive him.
Of course, God did. Through His incomprehensible mercy, God not only forgave Paul but used him as an instrument to tell others about the Good News—the promise of a new life offered to those who put their trust in Him (Acts 9:15).
So if God forgave Paul, a man responsible for countless murders and unthinkable acts of cruelty, don’t you think He could forgive you and me as well? Of course, He could, and He will if we confess Him as Lord (Romans 10:9).
Just as God chose Paul, He desires to use us in the same way. And just as God had to change Paul’s heart before the Holy Spirit could come upon him, we must allow Christ into ours so that His Spirit can make us new and guide us down a path of righteousness (Romans 1:16-17).
People knew of Paul’s past, yet when they witnessed his genuine transformation, they knew what Paul taught was real because they could see the evidence in the way his life had changed (Acts 9:22). The same can be true for you and I. When others see how Christ has changed us—when we’re willing to be vulnerable in our faith and let others know what Christ has done in our lives—then they will know that they, too, can ask Christ into their hearts and welcome Him as their Savior.
What are you doing in your everyday life to let people know you belong to Christ?
Today’s author: Mark Henderson—husband, father, and founder of The Inspired Legacy.