July 17, 2023
- By Ed Powell
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"But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he, that destroyed them which called on his name in Jerusalem?" Acts 9:21
There is no greater example of God's transforming power than what took place in Paul's life: He changed from a determined persecutor of the Christians he sought to destroy, to one who had an encounter with God and became the mighty apostle of God, the instrument God used to pen many of the epistles of the New Testament. God initiated a radical change in his life.
The majesty of God impacted Paul, who never forgot how devastating his life had been to so many, when he sought to persecute and imprison those who followed Christ. After his conversion, he referred to himself as the "chiefest of sinners." The magnitude of God's grace overwhelmed him as he lived "constrained by the love of God." The consuming object of his life was "that I might know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his suffering, being made conformable unto his death." Oh, that we might find ourselves at the foot of the cross, as Paul did. It is there we will be made aware of our abominable sin and wretchedness, our unworthiness and rebellion, as we behold our Lord paying the immeasurable price for our sin. Such fathomless, condescending love should cause us to bow in utter contrition and devotion to Christ.
Those who had known Paul before his conversion were absolutely in awe at the transformation that had taken place. So much so, that when he began to preach, they found it hard to believe he was the same person. Paul could not conceive the matchless GRACE of God--that gave him what he did not deserve, and the MERCY of God--that withheld the wrath and judgment he did deserve. This characterized his life and demonstrated to all the unreserved surrender of his life completely to God. Have you ever had such immeasurable truth grip your life? How quickly we forget the greatness of God's provision and care for us...His love, grace, mercy, compassion, protection, and sufficiency to meet our every need. Oh, to live in the conscious reality of the magnitude of God's infinite grace...and the love of God, that is beyond our comprehension.
But then, God forgets what we remember. So many today live in the bondage of their past sins. If anyone had justification for doing so, Paul did. God said, "I will remove your sins as far as the east is from the west; I will remember them no more. Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." Paul challenges us with his testimony when he says, "This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching for those things which are before. I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Then he says, "Let us therefore, as many as be perfect (mature), be thus minded." We should look within our own hearts and see if this is our desire. Do our lives reflect radical changes from our past self-centered lives? Is Christ the focus of our lives? I trust that your commitment to Christ is reflected in the way you live, and it manifests the love of God unto all.
© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.
This page was reprinted by permission from: http://litmin.org/dare.php?date=2023-07-17
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