Paul acted out of ignorance until He met Jesus. How about you? Has Jesus called you to be His? I pray your answer was, “Yes!”
5 Free yourself [by taking Christ’s offer of complete forgiveness and freedom], like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the snare of the fowler.
The apostle Paul, formerly known as Saul (Saul was his Hebrew name and Paul was his Greek name–see Acts 13:9), thought he was doing the LORD a favor by ridding the world of that sect of the followers of the Way (Acts 19:9). When he met the Lord Jesus on the road to Damascus (see chapter 9), he became an devoted follower of Jesus. In fact, Jesus had plans for Paul to take the message of salvation to the Gentiles. We learn a little about Paul’s thoughts on the matter in 1 Timothy 1:13-14,
13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. 14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
Paul acted out of ignorance. He had not met Christ up until that point on the road. But, what about those who turn down Christ’s invitation? I’m not talking about hearing the Gospel, but about the Holy Spirit urging a person to respond to Him, but he turns Him down? I know that “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God,” (Romans 10:17), but the Spirit must move in a person’s heart before that person can even respond. He is dead spiritually. The Spirit must invite a person to receive Him before he can even know what he’s missing (John 6:44).
John 3:16 tells us that God loves the world so much that He gave His Son as the ultimate sin sacrifice. Verse 17 tells us that a person who believes will not be condemned, but verse 18 says that a person who doesn’t believe stands condemned already, for he hasn’t believed in the one and only Son. This person has committed the one sin that cannot be pardoned, the sin of unbelief, which is saying, “No!” to the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:31-32).
We who have Christ are buried with Him in death and are raised to walk in newness of life in Him (Romans 6:2-4). We have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Therefore, we are commanded, “Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace” Romans 6:13-14.
As we enter into worship this morning, may we all remember that we have died with Christ and no longer live for ourselves, but for Him who died for us and was raised to life (2 Corinthians 5:15) and us in Him.
Abba, Your love compels us to worship You today. We exalt Your name and praise You for who You are and for all You have done for us. You truly love us, don’t You?! That, right there, is worth shouting! May we lavish our love on You today, O Lord. Amen.