By Shane Kastler
Before the Apostle Paul became “the Apostle” Paul, he was known as Saul of Tarsus. A fierce and legalistic Jew who hated Christians; Saul took part in their murders and gladly drug both men and women to jail. He was the chief tormentor and terrorist of the early church, which is why he later called himself the “chief of sinners.” (1 Timothy 1:15)
While chasing Christians to the city of Damascus he was encountered by the risen Christ. Blinded and confused, Saul questioned this shining figure before him as to who he was. “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.” (Acts 9:5) Saul was now a changed man. He would eventually regain his sight and preach the gospel, more famously than any preacher since. Jesus referred to Saul as “my chosen instrument” (Acts 9:15) and indeed he was. For if the Lord had not chosen to save and use Saul, then Saul would have simply lived a violent life and died in his sins with eternal Hell to face. But God showed him grace.
Perhaps you know someone who you think is beyond the grace of God. Someone who is hostile toward religion and even seems to hate Christianity. You might think it would be impossible for this person to be saved. From a human perspective it is. But with God all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26) The same God who flattened Saul on that Damascus road has the power to flatten and convict whomever He wishes. Every true believer has experienced this work of God whereby they were convicted of sin and given a new heart of love for the Lord. Maybe you're experiencing this right now.
The Bible calls us to do something that we will never do and promises salvation for those who do it. Repent of your sin and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved. These are things you will never do. Unless God gives you a heart to do them. Has God brought conviction and repentance to your heart. Has God opened your eyes to the truth of Christ and Him crucified, dead and buried, and resurrected? Do you have a new found desire to walk with Him all of your days? If so, then praise God for it was His work not yours that brought this change.
Don't give up on the hard-hearted rebellious sinners. You can't save them. But God can. And in the past He has. Saul became Paul because Jesus showed Him grace. Pray the Lord to do this for others as well. Pray the Lord to do this for you.