"For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace." Galatians 1:13
Who do you think is unreachable? Who do you think, either because of their past, their history, their family background, their actions, their behavior, their personality—who have you determined, “There is no way they can make it into the kingdom. There is no way God can reach them. There is no way God can change them.”
It’s not that you think God can’t do it. It’s that for some reason you think they won’t respond to God, they will never darken the doors of my church. “That person, who has such foul language and immoral behavior, I just can’t see them singing songs and living a life of holiness.”
Enter the Apostle Paul. Nothing short of a murderer, a blasphemer, a slanderer. He had much more than an anger problem and a troubled past. He was the epitome of evil. Persecuting those whom God had called chosen. Terrorizing a small group of mostly poor, uneducated and outcast former Jews turned Christians.
And in Galatians 1, as Paul opens the letter, he reminds his readers, “this is who I was.” He does not mince words when he describes his persecution of the church as violent and his ultimate goal as “destruction.” Until verse 15, “But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace…”
“This is who I was, this is what my life was until he called me. And by the way, it wasn’t by accident. God had planned this from before I was even born.” So I don’t care who it is, I don’t care what they have done, I don’t care how violent and broken they are, there is no one who is out of reach of God’s grace.
Don’t ever think, “God, they are too broken, they are too arrogant, they are too angry.” Instead, think about the Apostle Paul. The very person that you think is out of God’s reach is someone whom God can not only reach, but someone who God can use. And usually the people with the most sordid past are the ones who have the greatest impact on the kingdom. Those who are forgiven much, love much (Luke 7:47).
So, continue to pray for people, family, friends, neighbors and strangers—there is no one whose life is so broken and whose sin is so great that they can’t be reached and used by God. By the way, that also includes you.
Posted on Fri, May 8, 2015
by Sam Petitfils