The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"The Most Unlikely Candidate"
Had we lived in the first century, during the early days of the church, there would have been one man we might have thought could and would never become a born again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.
"As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison" (Acts 8:3).
"Beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it" (Galatians 1:13).
Saul, better known throughout the history of the church as the Apostle Paul, would seem to have been the most unlikely candidate for salvation and a life lived for the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. However, the grace of God transformed his heart through faith in the Savior, resulting in most strident persecutor of Christ and His people becoming the most suffering saint for the same.
"Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep, in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren, in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness" (II Corinthians 11:23-27).
Paul reluctantly described his challenges endured for the Lord Jesus - "I speak as a fool." However, as mentioned, he would have been the most unlikely candidate for grace in the minds of many believers of his day. Thus, some Christians held Paul in suspicion even after his conversion, leading to frequent necessity to confirm the genuineness of his faith. "Am I not an apostle? Am I not free? Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? Are not ye my work in the Lord?" (I Corinthians 9:1). Yes, beloved now and for many centuries, but often not so during his own century, the Apostle Paul faced challenges not only from the unbelieving, but also from the faithful of his day. "Ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me" (II Corinthians 13:3).
All this to say, we do not know who will receive the salvation of God as revealed through the Lord Jesus. Some of the most unlikely candidates for grace may one day surprise us, as Paul shocked many of his day. We pray accordingly, and seek to bear witness to all by example of life and word of mouth that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and the Savior of all who believe. Mighty power of change resides in such such truth, even as the greatest herald of it - Saul of Tarsus, or rather, the Apostle Paul - declared of the grace that so changed his heart and the course of his life…
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth."
Weekly Memory Verse
And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.
(II Corinthians 9:8)