By Shane Kastler
It is a remarkable thought to consider that someone would give their life for you. It's even more remarkable if you consider that “someone” to be God Himself. And furthermore, the amazement of this fact grows even more when we realize that this gift is something that none of us deserve.
When the Apostle Paul thought upon the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, he marveled at what Jesus had done for him. You might remember Paul's history. He was once a blasphemer who hated Jesus and hated His followers. When the first Christian was martyred for his faith, it was Paul (also known as Saul) who had taken part in the execution. In Acts 7 we are told that Stephen was stoned to death as Saul gave his hearty approval to the entire violent scene. Yet God showed Saul grace.
The Lord changed Saul and granted him a repentant heart and a brand new life. He who once tried to destroy Christianity had himself become a Christian. This did not happen because of anything good within Paul, but rather because of the goodness and grace of the Lord. Many years later as Paul considered these matters he was humbled. He wrote to the Galatians these words: “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20 NASB)
Jesus loved Paul and He gave himself for Paul. The same can be said of every Christian. Are you a follower of Jesus? Then rest assured the reason for this is not that you were good, but that Jesus was good. You didn't become a Christian because you initially loved God, but rather it was because He loved you. You did not pay for your own sins, indeed no one can. But rather, Christ “gave Himself” for you.
There is an old hymn that speaks of God's grace as being “greater than all our sins.” Regardless of what you have done, the payment of Christ is sufficient to pay for it. Will you turn from your sin in repentance and place your faith in Christ today? The love of Christ is a glorious thing. His grace is truly amazing. Paul came to understand that. Hopefully you will as well; and you too will be able to bow your head and humble your heart with awestruck wonder at Christ “who loved me, and gave Himself for me.”