I Timothy 1:12-16 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him, even though I used to blaspheme the name of Christ. In my insolence, I persecuted his people. But God had mercy on me because I did it in ignorance and unbelief. Oh, how generous and gracious our Lord was! He filled me with the faith and love that come from Christ Jesus. This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all. But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life.
Have you ever sat down and considered the life of Paul? Most would not refute the statement that the Apostle Paul was the greatest Christian who ever lived. If Paul were here, he would refute it. In the scripture we just read, we see that he considered himself to be one of the worst of sinners. Paul began his life as Saul. Paul was a Jew, but he was not born nor raised in Judea. Paul was born in a city called Tarsus located in the Roman providence of Cilicia, therefore making Paul also a Roman citizen by birth. While growing up in Tarsus, Paul was exposed to commercial trade, diverse populations, education, and pagan forms of worship. He was educated at the best schools and universities. He knew the law inside and out. He knew the Old Testament laws, but he was not a believer in Christ as the Messiah. He was a Pharisee, and he spent his days persecuting and murdering Christians. However, one day on the road to Damascus, he met Jesus and his life was forever changed forever.
I can’t help but think about the fact that God orchestrated everything to work out for our good and His glory. Our pastor always tells us that “it’s all rigged,” and I do believe that Paul meeting Jesus on the road to Damascus was definitely rigged. Paul’s sight was taken from him on the road to Damascus, but when it was later restored, he not only received physical sight, he gained spiritual sight as well. He realized that Jesus Christ was the Messiah, and he did a complete about face. Rather than hunting down, persecuting, and murdering Christians, he became one himself. Not only did he convert on that road he was traveling, he became a true beacon for Christ. God knows who each of us are from the inside out, and He knew that Paul was very knowledgeable in regards to Old Testament teaching. Paul was able to teach and preach the law and use it to motivate people towards Christ, and at the same time he was able to teach and preach the new command and the new covenant given by Christ. God took a perfect example of a sinner, and He made him one of the greatest apostles and soul winners ever known to man.
Why is it so important to consider Paul? Because we are all just like him! Hopefully we aren’t out there persecuting and murdering people, but we are all sinners. And if we have accepted Christ as our Lord Savior, we have also been forever changed. God has been with you from the very beginning, and just like Paul, God has also been orchestrating your life too. Consider that for a moment. Who have you become in Christ? We spend way to many hours pondering over past failures and sins, and when we do this, we are not being who God created us to be. If we are in Christ, those sins have been forgiven. Those past mistakes, however, have helped to shape us into the people that we are today. God has made you to be exactly the person that you are. He knows the number of hairs on your head. He knows the difficulties you are enduring. He knows your heart. He has big plans for your future, and those plans involve living life abundantly! The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (John 10:10) And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)
I really want to be more like Paul because he taught us how to live like Jesus. He didn’t talk the talk. He walked the walk. I’m so very thankful for my salvation, but being saved personally isn’t enough any more. I want to share the gospel with everyone. Today is a great day to be a Paul! This world needs more Paul’s and a lot less Saul’s!