1 Timothy 1:15-16 New Living Translation
“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.”
The Apostle Paul wasn’t always a godly man. He oversaw the murder of Christians. God exhibited much patience with Paul until when the time was right the Lord revealed himself to him on the road to Damascus. Paul’s conversion was dramatic to say the least, what with being blinded by a bright light and knocked off his horse. He had been such a terror to believers prior to salvation that some of the brethren initially had difficulty accepting that he had become a follower of Christ. Thru the prompting of the Holy Spirit Paul was embraced and went on to become the Apostle to the Gentiles, those grafted into the family of God due to Jewish rejection of Jesus as their Messiah.
Paul’s conversion is a prime example of one you would least expect to become saved. Perhaps it has something to do with our inability to forgive some folks that leads us to believe that some people will either never believe as we do or do not deserve to be redeemed. That type of thinking is wrong on both counts. Since we are not the judge who makes the final determination as to the eternal destination of anyone, we have no say in who goes to heaven or hell. Many of us have the unsavory habit of judging others merely by their physical appearance. I struggle with that quite a bit. If God judged us the way we judge others none of us would enter into heaven.
This portion of scripture should be an encouragement to believers regarding those we know who have up to this point have rebuffed our witness. No one is beyond the reach of God. There is no one God wishes to burn in hell. We are his representatives on this earth. Are we judging when we should be ministering in mercy and love? Be God’s hand extended and not one that drives people away from salvation. Ask the Lord to enable you to see others, whether lost or the brethren, the way he sees them. That would be a major step in the right direction. Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!
Resource: The Life Application Study Bible, published by Tyndale House.