Bad Intentions Spoiled

“And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.”

“But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests?” Acts 9:1-2, 21

A couple of Sundays ago my Pastor, Jeff Arthur made a statement that stuck in my mind. He said that when Paul was converted he wasn’t on his way to a revival meeting; instead he was on his way to arrest Christians and put them in chains and haul them off to Jerusalem. Paul was no different than any of us. The Bible tells us “there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.” Not a one of us. The Word of God says we are all enemies in our mind by wicked works {Colossians 1:21} If God saved you He saved you the same way he saved Paul.

C. H. Spurgeon gives us a short narrative of Saul’s conversion from his sermon, Predestination and Calling;  “…Christ determined that he would call the man. Oh, what an enterprise! Stop HIM? Why he is going fast onward in his mad career. But lo, a light shines round about him and he falls to the ground, and he hears a voice crying, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me; it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.” Saul’s eyes are filled with tears, and then again with scales of darkness, and he cries, “Who art thou?” and a voice calls, “I am Jesus, whom thou persecutest.” It is not many minutes before he begins to feel his sin in having persecuted Jesus, nor many hours ere he receives the assurance of his pardon, and not many days ere he who persecuted Christ stands up to preach with vehemence and eloquence unparalleled, the very cause which he once trod beneath his feet. See what effectual calling can do. If God should choose this morning to call the hardest-hearted wretch within hearing of the gospel, he must obey. Let God call—a man may resist, but he cannot resist effectually. Down thou shalt come, sinner, if God cries down; there is no standing when he would have thee fall. And mark, every man that is saved, is always saved by an overcoming call which he cannot withstand; he may resist it for a time, but he cannot resist so as to overcome it, he must give way, he must yield when God speaks. If he says, “Let there be light,” the impenetrable darkness gives way to light; if he says, “Let there be grace,” unutterable sin gives way, and the hardest-hearted sinner melts before the fire of effectual calling.”

I like John Newton’s line from the hymn, In Evil Long I Took Delight.

“In evil long I took delight,
Unawed by shame or fear,
Till a new object struck my sight,
And stopped my wild career.”

He stopped Paul’s wild career.

He stopped John Newton’s wild career.

He has stopped a multitude {that no man can number} of wild careers.

He stopped my wild career

Does this not give us hope for the most stubborn and indifferent sinners?

Shawn

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