November 8, 2018
READ: 1 Timothy 1:12-16
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 (v.16).
Every Christian has a story to tell. Some conversion testimonies are more dramatic and spectacular than others. Some claim to have seen a vision of Jesus, or that He healed them of a terminal disease. My simple story is that 45 years ago, someone shared the gospel with me and I believed. There was no thunder and lightning, but my heart was changed forever.
Paul’s conversion story was far different from mine (Acts 9:1-20, 22:1-21, 26:1-20). As he mercilessly persecuted Christians, Jesus stopped him in his murderous tracks and blinded him in order that he would be saved.
Having been a sworn enemy of Christ, Paul was ever grateful that God would still love and save him. The apostle considered himself the least qualified and the most undeserving recipient of God’s mercy and grace: “But God had mercy on me . . . . Oh, how generous and gracious our Lord was!” (1 Timothy 1:13-14). Comparing his murderous ways to all the wicked people in the world, Paul considered himself “the worst of them all” (v.15), “the least deserving of all God’s people” (Ephesians 3:8).
So why would God save someone like Paul?
When God drew Paul to Himself, He told Ananias that the apostle was to be “[His] chosen instrument to take [His] message to the Gentiles” (Acts 9:15). But Paul saw another reason: “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 realise that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life” (1 Timothy 1:16).
In other words, God had you and me in mind when He saved the apostle—an amazing thought! If Paul—“the worst of sinners”—could be saved, then there’s hope for all of us. No one is beyond the reach of God’s mercy and love.
365-day plan: Acts 20:13-38
Read Ephesians 2:1-10 to see the saving grace God has extended to you.
How is every conversion story amazing and miraculous? What does it mean for you to be saved by God?