My Grace-Full Life

2.5.21 Praise & Prayer Prompt: Grace

TODAY’S SIGNATURE VERSE ••• And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. (1 Timothy 1:12-13 NKJV)

PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• Last week, I started reading a book called “Paul: A Man of Grit and Grace.” It’s part of the Great Lives in God’s Word series written by Charles Swindoll in the 90s. The book takes a hard look at the life of Paul and enables us to get to know this once-murderous zealot and how God transformed him (as the title states) into a man of grit and grace.  

When describing Paul’s conversion, Mr. Swindoll cited 1 Timothy 1:12-13, where Paul wrote, “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.”

That’s quite a litany of sins.

Still, though, Paul’s conversion is easily one of the (if not THE) most dramatic conversions in Scripture and possibly even human history.  He’s the perfect example of how God can use a person, despite their past.  Paul, who was by his own words, “the chief of sinners,” made a complete u-turn… A man who was once a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent man became a preacher, teacher, passionate advocate for Christ, and the writer of most of the New Testament.

His life should give hope to everyone.  Even the most hopeless.

But if you’re like many people when faced with the reality of their past, you’re probably cringing over some of the things you’ve done…. I have my own list; I’m sure you do too.  We can use this verse and insert our own catalog of sins:

“I was formerly a ___________, a ___________, and an ___________ {wo}man…”

But here’s the good news…

When we think we’ve gone too far…  when we assume our sins are too great…   when we believe we’re beyond redemption and hope — let’s take a hard look at the words Paul wrote to Timothy in verse  13:  “but I obtained mercy.”

If mercy was available for Paul despite all he did to eradicate the Christian church before his conversion — don’t you think it’s available for you too?

Let’s go to Ephesians 2:8-9…. Words also penned by Paul and easily my favorite passage in Scripture.  These verses say, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

So, in short, it’s not about what we’ve done.  But it’s about what He did.

When Christ died on the cross for our sins, He opened up the doors for grace.  The only thing you and I have to do is accept it and walk through the doors.  It’s ours for the taking!

No matter what we’ve done or how horrible the sin.  God’s grace covers all the sins of a repentant heart.  As Jesus once said to the pious Pharisees of His day, “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Mark 2:17b).

And that was Paul.  And that is me.  And that is you.

Today, as you pray, thank God for u-turns.  Thank Him that He can take the most wretched of sinners and turn lives around with His amazing grace.  Ask the Holy Spirit to help you get past the condemnation of who you were and embrace what Jesus did because of who He is — the resurrected Son of the one, true Living God.

SHARING ••• My Grace-Full Life is written by Denise Heidel. You are welcome to share anything I write, but please credit my writing and graphics accordingly. Visit www.MyGraceFullLife.com to read past blogs. Subscribe through my website to have My Grace-Full Life delivered to your email. You can unsubscribe at any time. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from the NKJV translation.

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