Grace for Sinners: Once a Blasphemer

“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.” (1 Timothy 1:13)

For Paul, grace wasn’t just about theology and doctrine and getting the words in the right order in Sunday School. It was the rock-bottom reality of his life. Paul was the villain of Acts. He was “breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples.” He was the Bad Guy.

grace_350He was a blasphemer, denying that Jesus is the Son of God. He was a persecutor, sneering near the coat pile at the execution of Stephen for believing in Jesus. Paul was a violent man; he wanted blood.

Instead, God gave him mercy. Why? Because he wasn’t really that bad? No! Because he didn’t believe, yet. So God helped him believe and set him on a new path.

Why would God do that for someone so sinful? That’s the question of grace. We’ll find out more about the answer the rest of this week.

Think: What have you earned from God for the worst of your sinful choices? What has God given to you? Why?

Pray: Thank God for his mercy for sinners like you.

Do: Read about Paul’s transition from villain to one of the good guys in Acts 9:20-31.