ODJ: Never Beyond God’s Grace

April 11, 2016 

READ: Acts 9:1-22 

“Who are you, lord?” Saul asked. And the voice replied, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting” (v.5).

My springer spaniel was recognized as one of the most talented, hardworking dogs in our hunting community. He would go out on thin ice to retrieve game when other dogs would turn back. Pursuing a pheasant through the thickest bramble and thorn—areas that other dogs would not enter because it was so dense—wasn’t a problem. His determination was so great that he even made a retrieval immediately after breaking his leg! And yet, when he was just 18 months old, I wondered if he would ever be a good hunting dog. His determined personality seemed impossible to harness and I was ready to give up on him because it appeared he would never become an obedient companion.

Saul of Tarsus once appeared to be a lost cause too. Just look at the darkness of his heart when he “agreed completely with the killing of Stephen” (Acts 8:1). He stood by and nodded approval as an innocent man was battered to death. Then he sought assistance in attacking other men and women and throwing them in jail, simply because he hated what they believed (9:1—2). His determination to be cruel and hateful knew no bounds. Surely this was a man beyond the reach of God’s grace! Surely the best thing was to sit back and await His judgment, right?

Yet God transformed Saul (later known as Paul) in an instant! (vv.5—6). All the venom and hatred was washed away as he became one of the most influential believers of all time. He simply refused to keep quiet once he came to know Christ (vv.20—22).

Isn’t it amazing how sometimes the worst offenders become the most passionate followers? Perhaps this is because they know what they’ve been saved from (Luke 7:47). No one is beyond the reach of Jesus—no one!

—Russell Fralick

365-day-plan: 1 Kings 1:5-27

Read Acts 17:16—34 and see how God used Paul and his zeal to reach others. 
Read Acts 17:16—34 and see how God used Paul and his zeal to reach others.