I really enjoy listening to people share their testimony of when and how they came to Christ. Like people, testimonies come in all shapes and sizes. Some are very dramatic, with wild turning points and big "ah-ha" moments; some are far less so and have a slow build, but they are no less compelling. I’ve learned that it takes the same mighty power of God to save an outwardly good person as it does to save an inwardly evil person. We all come to the cross on equal ground. We are all sinners in desperate need of God’s mercy. In Acts 22, the Apostle Paul stood before an angry Jewish crowd that wanted him dead and gave them his story. He hoped that it would cause them to see that he was once just like them until he "saw the light." He was once a religious zealot that not only knew the Law, he enforced and tried to preserve it. Looking back, he realized that all of his “dedication to the cause” in the name of “religion” didn’t move him an inch closer to being right with a holy God. In fact, it was this same attitude that led the Jews to kill their Messiah. His key point was...being religious doesn’t save anyone!
It is only by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone that a person is saved. Paul is making clear here that you can be as dedicated a soldier for the cause as you can be, and yet be completely mistaken to the point that you are actually fighting against God Himself. We can be so convinced that we’re going the right way that we're actually blind to the truth (think Roy Riegels). I believe one of the most, if not the most compelling cases for Christianity is a personal testimony of faith in Christ; it’s your story. No one can argue with your personal experience. If God’s grace and power can save someone like Saul the Persecutor, then He’s able to save any sinner, and do it instantly & completely. There is no one too far out of the reach of a sovereign God. What's your story? Has there been a specific time when you realized your need of being saved from your lost condition? You repented of your sin, admitting your guilt, and you believed in the only One who could save you. If so, share it with someone this week. If not, today can be the first day of the rest of your (eternal) life. Will you humble yourself before a Holy God in saving faith right now? Believe me, it is a decision you will never regret! Press on! Pastor Brian Richard