The sheer mercy of God! 


God transforms a great sinner
named Saul into Saint Paul

 

Saul watched nearby as Stephen (a follower of Jesus) was being dragged out of the city by a mob.   He was then violently stoned to death.  Saul took responsibility and approved of his death.
This was the beginning of terror that he inflicted on the Christian community.   He was hunting Christians, putting them into prison, and authorising their execution.   Today we would call this a sort of religious cleansing.  Saul's aim was to wipe out the Christian community.
He was on his way to Damascus to arrest Christians, their families and their children.    He was dazed by a blinding flash of light.  As he fell to the ground he heard a voice…

 

"Saul, Saul!  Why are you out to get me?"  
He said
"Who are you master?"

   "I am Jesus!
The one that you are hunting down. 
I want you to get up and enter the city. 
In the city you will be told what to do next"

(The Message, Acts, Chapter 9)

 

This was the point in Saul's life when he became known as Paul. 
Saul's life was transformed.  This was an incredible journey with God.  Paul fully accepted that he could not earn forgiveness but he came to believe that God had forgiven him.   This was the sheer mercy of God.   Paul called this 'grace'.   Grace means undeserved forgiveness.   We are not quite sure how many Christians Paul authorised the execution of but we know that he could never ever have earned God's forgiveness.

Paul would have met with the families of the Christians that he was responsible for executing.  This would have been a tense moment for Paul and for the families.  The families had to forgive and trust Paul because he was handpicked by God.  

Paul moved on with his life even though he had been responsible for the killing of Christians.  There needs to be a moment in our lives when we need to leave the past in God's hands and move on with him. 

The message for us today is that God is in the business of transforming great sinners into saints. 

 

 

Dear God

I am a great sinner

Please transform me

Into a saint

In Jesus Name

Amen

 

 


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