I myself was convinced that it was necessary to do many things in opposition to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 I actually did this in Jerusalem, and I locked up many of the saints in prison, since I had received authority for that from the chief priests. When they were put to death, I was in agreement against them. 11 In all the synagogues I often punished them and tried to make them blaspheme. Since I was terribly enraged at them, I pursued them even to foreign cities. Acts 26:9-11
the grace of our Lord overflowed, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 This saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, so that in me, the worst of them, Christ Jesus might demonstrate his extraordinary patience as an example to those who would believe in him for eternal life. 1 Timothy 1:14-16
6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For rarely will someone die for a just person—though for a good person perhaps someone might even dare to die. 8 But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
The Lord in showing mercy to Paul had a farther view than to himself. He designed him to stand as a pattern how he would deal with others. Had all the apostles and ministers been like Nathaniel, they might have preached the gospel, but could not have been such striking instances of its power, as Paul and those who, like him, have been stopped and changed in the height of open rebellion.
John Newton and Marylynn Rouse, 365 Days with Newton (Leominster, UK: Day One Publications, 2006), 91.
I emphasize this topic, which we’ve touched on a few times before, not to point out that Paul was a jerk before Christ, but to simply remind us all of the wonderful meaning of grace – undeserved favor. In Paul (and several others in Scripture) we have rich pictures of grace to warm our own hearts with the hope of grace.
End of the Show: Bible memory verse for FEBRUARY: Acts 9:31 So the church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.
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