Accept His Forgiveness
When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it. (Jonah 3.10) It amazes me how people can think God will not save them. They may profess that God is all powerful, but then they somehow convince themselves that they are not good enough to be forgiven. The Bible explains time and time again that God is willing to forgive. Although, it would seem many refuse to forgive themselves.
God is willing to forgive. He desires all be saved. And by the blood of the Christ God will forgive! (1 Timothy 2.4-6) So what is the hold up? Paul is the go-to answer here, right? Perhaps you have heard a message like this one in the past. You know the preacher is going to point out that Paul proclaims he is saved by Jesus even though he is the “chief” of sinners (1 Timothy 1.15, NKJ). Well, sure, but that message only discusses salvation. What about how Paul publicly showed that salvation?
Having been beaten Paul proclaims salvation to the people he used to kill for (Acts 22). These were his countrymen, his previous coworkers, his family. Now they are his accusers, his assailants, his assassins. Paul does not shy away from his connection to them. He claims his past and relationship with them as part of his testimony (Acts 22.3-5). Later, he will tell them he is different and saved in the name of Jesus (Acts 22.16).
Murderer. Pharisee. Persecutor of God’s children. Paul. Paul will make a similar claim before Agrippa (Acts 26). Paul acknowledges all the aspects of Judaism he was involved in and credits Agrippa for knowing that doctrine so that he can later speak of the difference- the forgiveness of sins available only in the name of Jesus (Acts 26.9, 18).
How can Paul stand up and preach? How can he write so many letters to so many churches? Why can he testify about our God? Because the power of God’s love, mercy, grace, forgiveness, longsuffering, etc… are displayed in justifying that sinner. Why is Paul’s testimony so powerful? Because it shows God’s power, not Paul’s past. Forget what lies behind, proclaim what God has done.