Moments ‘Til Midnight Blog Series: Part 3
Wandering Well…Grace has a name and it’s Jesus
“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them.
1 Timothy 1:15
Every story has a dominant theme– an undeniable idea that rises to the surface above all others. The best of stories has redemption as the centralized idea, made possible by a hero or team of heroes—a redeemer of sorts. Paul’s was this kind of story.
His story had redemption as its theme and the Redeemer as the central character. When one lives this kind of story, when one embarks on this kind of pilgrimage, one word stands out among them all: grace.
After his conversion in Acts 9, Paul lived a life full of purpose and mission. While he was not held hostage by the guilt of his past sin, he never seemed to forget from what he had been forgiven. This is probably why Paul mentions grace more than any other word. Paul’s soul had been made well, but he never forgot what it was like to be sin sick.
In many ways, Paul was like the kid who hid too well in a neighborhood game of hide and seek. He hid behind a graceless religion. The followers of Jesus feared him, making a point never to cross his path. The picture we have of Saul at the beginning of Acts 9 was a person who “was still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord.” It is a picture of a man with growing success in stopping the movement of Jesus’ followers. One scholar described him to be “like a warhorse who sniffed the smell of battle. He breathed on the remaining disciples the murder that he had already breathed in from the death of the others.”Saul was like a wild animal– a predator– and anyone who followed Jesus was his prey. In short, he was a monster. This picture stands as a vivid reminder that a life absent of grace will always lead to a tragic place.
Before his conversion, grace was a concept of which Saul was thoroughly ignorant. If grace was oxygen, Saul was suffocating. It would be analogous to an English-speaking person being dropped into a jungle tribe of people who only communicated by blinking their eyes at one another. One may know that people are communicating through eye blinks, but one is utterly confused. Saul was grace illiterate.
But after that fateful day on the road to Damascus, grace was transformed from being a foreign concept into a loving Savior. God’s grace actually had a name, and it was Jesus. Now Saul was no longer persecutor, but an apostle. His mind was no longer ignorant but now illuminated. He was no longer a monster hunting down his prey but now a member of this movement. He no longer hid behind self-righteousness, but now stood in the light– a sinner saved by grace.
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love that he had for us, made us alive with Christ even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace! He also raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus.(Ephesians 2:4–6, CSB)
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This blog post is an excerpt from the book Moments ‘Til Midnight and been used with permission from author and company.