Vital signs, May 17th, 2020
Do you ever get so frustrated with yourself for saying or doing something you know you shouldn’t have? What about the thoughts you let go through your mind about other people? Every single day—and often many times a day—we act in ways we know aren’t honoring God. Our humanity is just so human, isn’t it?
Whether we understand what we’re doing or not, God gives grace to us! His perfect, unmerited favor covers a multitude of sins and is available to us 24 hours a day, every day of every week. The Bible is full of people who understood the powerful grace of God in their lives. Let’s hear two stories:
According to himself, Saul was a Pharisee of all Pharisees. If anyone had the right resume with numerous accolades, it was him. He stood for what was “right” and even stood by watching Christians be murdered. He was determined to rid the world of Christianity. But then he met Jesus, literally, and he was radically changed. Saul, renamed Paul, became the most influential leader in the early church and authored much of the New Testament.
When referring to the 12 disciples of Jesus, Peter is almost always mentioned first. His leadership was evident, and he’s known for being outspoken. So much so that when Jesus told the group that they would all desert him, Peter was adamant that he would never do that. Yet, after Jesus was arrested, Peter was confronted and denied that he knew Jesus, not once, but three times. When Jesus came back from the dead, He forgave Peter and restored him to ministry. Peter went on to be one of the most influential leaders in the early Church.
Paul didn’t know what he was doing until he knew what he was doing. He genuinely didn’t believe that Jesus was the Messiah and felt justified in his Jewish faith by attempting to rid the world of a supposed con artist. Peter, on the other hand, had been with Jesus, and many would say “he knew better.” He even proclaimed that he’d be the last person to ever leave Jesus. Two very different scenarios covered by the same grace and forgiveness of God.
We all sin and do the unthinkable. But, God’s grace lavishes us with forgiveness. So, no matter how far you’ve strayed, how corrupt you’ve been, or who you’ve hurt, God’s forgiveness is just a simple prayer away.
And in addition to having our sins forgiven, God won’t waste our pain or experiences! We get to see those hard situations we walked through become stories for God’s glory. He uses the most unlikely people to be His vessels of hope on this earth. Are you willing to be an avenue of hope to someone who needs Jesus?
“Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.”
Lamentations 3:22-23 NKJV