All May Come
The apostle Paul understood himself to be the “chief of sinners”, for he “was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious” (1 Timothy 1:13). He testified to the Galatians concerning his behaviour, “in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it” (Galatians 1:13). We first read of Paul in the book of Acts as the young man Saul who was responsible for the murder of Stephen, who “consented to his death” (Acts 7:58; 8:1), because of Stephen's bright and shining testimony for Jesus Christ. And from there “he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.” (Acts 8:3)
And Paul did not stop with the murder of Stephen for we read in the next chapter, “And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.” (Acts 9:1-2) He testified, “And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women.” (Acts 22:4) And again, “Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them.” (Acts 26:10)
Paul was worse than a Nazi who did the same to the Jews, rounding them up to be imprisoned and put to death, for this was his sole mission and passion. In fact, he was like Hitler who headed up this campaign against the saints. So many would marvel that even one like Hitler could have been saved. Was Hitler the chief of sinners? No! Paul reserved that title for himself, so “that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.” (1 Timothy 1:16)
Perhaps you think that your past is too dark, you have committed things unforgivable, that reconciliation with God is not possible for you. If you have those feelings these thoughts come from none other than him who was a liar from the beginning, the Devil himself. Listen, God was not only longsufferering towards Paul, “but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) Repentance means to “change your mind”. You need to change your mind and believe the glorious gospel of Christ. If you would believe the gospel, that Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose again from the dead, you shall be saved (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). You can “trust” (Ephesians 1:12-14) Jesus Christ today to save you from your sin, and receive the gift of everlasting life, and have the “hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began” (Titus 1:2-3).
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:16-18) Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” (John 5:24)
Condemnation comes not because one has committed horrible sins, it comes because one has not believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, that He died for your sins, was buried, and rose again from the dead to take away your sins (John 1:29). We were all "dead in trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:1), but when we believe the gospel we are passed from death to life. Salvation is the gift of God, "Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all" (1 Timothy 2:4-6). All you have to do is believe and you shall be saved (Acts 16:30-31).
When Paul believed on the Lord Jesus Christ and received his sight, he arose and was baptized, “And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests? But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.” (Acts 9:20-22)
When Paul received his sight Annanias said, “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” (Acts 22:16) Like other new converts, Paul was immediately baptized. While baptism does not wash away sins, it was a symbol and our identification with the Lord Jesus Christ in His death and resurrection (Romans 6:4-5; 1 Peter 3:21). Sins can only be washed away by the blood of Jesus Christ (Revelation 1:5-6; 1 John 1:7-10), and "when he had by himself purged our sins, [He] sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high" (Hebrews 1:3), having "finished" (John 19:30) the work of our redemption (Colossians 1:14, Hebrews 9:12).
Paul made it clear that baptism has no place in our salvation saying, "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:17-18). No amount of good works can save us from our sins, only Jesus can. “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” (Titus 3:4-7) Paul believed the gospel and called on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to save Him from his sin. The promise to all is, “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:9, 13)
From that day forward Paul testified that, “the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20) The one who was the chief of sinners, now became a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ. From the chief of sinners to the least of sinners, all are an enemy of the cross and need to be reconciled to God. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” (Romans 5:8-10)
Today He ever lives to make intercession for all who come to God through Him. (Hebrews 7:25)
If you need more help on how to be saved please read THE GOSPEL and TRUST (Ephesians 1:13) Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and you shall receive the free gift of everlasting life (John 5:24). I pray you will today.
Amazing Love AMAZING LOVE
Last Update: 7/8/2020