1 Timothy 1:12-15
And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
My friend, do not ever think that you have sinned beyond the grace of God. We know Paul in Scripture mostly as a very godly man who diligently preached the Gospel in many places, who contended for the faith, who imparted wisdom that benefits us still today. He is the picture of a dedicated servant of Jesus Christ. But that was not always so. Before he was Paul the apostle, he was Saul the chief persecutor of the church and any who believed in Christ. He committed great sins, directly opposing Jesus Himself.
But that was not the end of Paul’s story. The grace of God is exceeding abundant. The love of Christ surpasses all of our sins and failures. The mistakes we make and the evil we commit is never beyond the power of God to forgive and to redeem. No wretched soul is beyond His power to save. So after his conversion, Paul could live a completely different life. He could be used greatly of God. He could experience the very real gift of redemption that comes through Jesus Christ.
Notice that Paul acknowledges his past without being trapped in it or hindered by it. What he had done and who he had been did not disqualify him from the life he would now lead. He knew so certainly that he was forgiven, that Christ had done a work in him. We, too, can be forgiven no matter what we have done in our past. God’s grace is sufficient. His mercy abounds. New life in Christ is possible, and it is real. And once we know Him, we can go forward into serving Him and leave behind our past. His forgiveness is available to us because of His great love and mercy. We need only believe that and trust in Him.
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