I once had a conversation with a friend of mine who was not a Christian. He had expressed the opinion that he wanted to raise his son with some moral values and was open to going to church but had questions… When I asked him whether he had accepted Jesus as his personal savior he replied that he wasn’t sure God could accept him because he had done too many bad things in his life. Many people feel this way. As they look back on their life they realize that they have maybe done some things that good, decent, moral people should never do. When they look back on their life they think to themselves that God can’t possibly love them or forgive them for THAT thing they did back when. If that describes you then I want to share with you some very good news! God absolutely wants to forgive you for the bad things you did in your life. Not only does He want to, He will actually do it if you let him.
Saul, One Mean Dude
The Bible records a man named Saul who was a Pharisee. Pharisees were men who prided themselves in being holy men of God. They were zealous for what they thought was the cause of God. They would stop at nothing to see their purposes achieved. Stealing, Killing, Lying were alright if the ends were important enough. In the New Testament we find the Pharisees as the leaders of the ones who crucified Jesus Christ. They were the church leaders of the day. Supposedly good people and yet they killed God. Can you think of anything worse than a hypocrite religious leader who actually kills God? What kind of a chance would a person like that get into heaven? I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t think that they would have much of a chance. Jesus prays an amazing prayer for these Pharisees and the soldiers as he is being crucified.
Luke 23:34 – “And Jesus said, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do…”
Jesus prayed that the people responsible for crucifying Him would be forgiven! If these people can be forgiven for killing God… Do you think there is any sin too great for God to forgive? The good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that anyone who desires to be forgiven can have the record of the mistakes and sins of their life erased forever.
Let’s get back to Saul… Now Saul is this Pharisee who has dedicated his whole life to what he thinks is God’s cause but he finds himself doing things that good people shouldn’t be doing. He’s arresting Christians and getting them thrown in jail or put to death. In Acts 7 we find the story of the deacon Stephen who is stoned for his belief in Jesus. Acts 8:1 tells us that Saul approved of his execution. Acts 8:1 also tells us that a great persecution against Christians broke out against the church in Jerusalem. In Acts 8:3 we find this recorded:
“But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison.” – Acts 8:3
This guy was convinced that he was doing God’s will but instead he was working for Satan and didn’t know it! You can’t get a worse person than this! You see, it is one thing to be a hell raising heathen who knows nothing about God and cares little for Him. It is quite another to claim to be a good person but to work for the devil. You would think that there would be no hope for someone like this and yet the Bible records something amazing! God causes Saul to see the truth about himself. You can read about it in Acts 9. Saul is determined to get rid of the Christians once and for all so he asks the Jewish High Priest for letters to the synagogues of Damascus in order to imprison and bring back to Jerusalem all of the Christians he would find there. It is while on the road to Damascus that Jesus himself appears to Saul.
“Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? And he said, Who are you, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” – Acts 8:4-6
This Bible records that Saul repented of all the evil that he had done and believed in Jesus Christ. God forgave him for killing and persecuting God’s own people. God forgave him from his pride and errors. Now how do I know that God forgave him? It’s simple really. Saul, which Acts 13:9 tells us was also known as Paul, wrote the majority of the New Testament! God turned this hypocrite murderer into one of His greatest agents for good in the history of His church.
There is hope for you
If God can turn this murderer into someone who can bring glory and honor to God and lead many people to God He can do it for you. Are you convinced that you’ve done too much wrong? 1 John 1:9 tells us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” It doesn’t say that you’ll be cleansed from some of your sin. It says, “from all unrighteousness” (emphasis mine) All of your sin can be taken away if you’ll just give it to Jesus. Let Him have it. Recognize that you have nothing good to offer Him. You are 100% a sinner. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, God wants you to recognize that you are no good without Him.
The good news though is that God still wants you! Sins and all. Mistakes and all. Ugly past and all. God loved us while we were His enemies. (Romans 5:10)
So what are you waiting for? Give you life to God and He’ll give you a brand new start. He’ll wipe away all the failures of the past and make something beautiful of your future.