Have you ever heard someone talk about God’s grace, but think that God’s grace might be for them, but it couldn’t be for you? Have you ever felt like you are simply too far gone for God to love and be willing to save? Satan loves to play those mind games with us. In today’s blog, I want us to see proof that no one is beyond God’s reach. It is the life of Paul. In Acts 26, Paul is defending himself against the Jews baseless charges against him. He is before the Roman rulers, Agrippa and Festus. As Paul typically did, he shared his story of how he personally encountered and was changed by God’s grace. Acts 26:9-10 says, “Indeed, I myself though I must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. This I also did in Jerusalem, and many of the saints I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them.”
Not only did Paul hate Jesus, he hated the Christians who loved, worshipped, and served Jesus. He hated them so much that he rounded them up, threw them into prison, and he even consented to their death. In fact, the first encounter in the Bible we have with Paul (who was Saul at the time) is in Acts 8, when Stephen was martyred for his faith. Paul was raised in a strict Jewish home. He went to the religious school, he studied under a great teacher. If anyone should have known who Jesus was, it should have been Paul. Yet, it wasn’t until Paul heard the voice of God on the Damascus road that Paul learned who Jesus was. Paul had been like many other Jewish people during Jesus’ day and afterwards; he was still waiting on the Messiah to come. He and the others had a wrong understanding of what the Messiah was going to do when He came. Yet, God in His grace, blinded Paul on the road, spoke to him, and saved him. Why do I bring all of this up? After all, I have written about all of this several different times over the last couple of weeks. I bring it up for a very important purpose.
If Paul wasn’t beyond the reach of God’s grace, neither are you! My heart is grieved about this next sentence. The one place that should champion second chances more than every other place in the world, is often the place where second chances are never given. Think of some of the stories you have heard in the world of sports, entertainment, and even politics. How many people have gotten second chances after messing things up very badly? The answer is many of them, not all, but many. Yet, so often in the church, when a person messes us, they are branded for life. They are set off to the side, up on the shelf, or worse, they are run out of the one place they should be running to when sin ruins their life. This is a whole separate other blog that I’m not going to go any further in. I simply want to write to encourage each person reading this, you haven’t gone too far. If God is giving you the grace to see your sin, and the faith to turn from your sin, then God’s grace is for you. I don’t know what you have done or what you are doing even now in your life, and I don’t care because the message doesn’t change. Paul was a blaspheming murderer who God gave grace to and saved. Not only did God save Paul, but God saved Paul for a purpose. God saved Paul to go and tell the world that the same grace that saved Paul, can save them. And the good news is this, the same grace that saved Paul, that saved me, can save you as well! The beauty of God’s grace is that it isn’t about earning it or deserving it. It is about God freely giving it to those that recognize they need it. Have you recognized your need for it yet? If I can help you in any way, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Paul had a story of God’s amazing grace. I have a story of God’s amazing grace. And God may be giving you one right now, so let’s tell it.
By His grace and for His glory,