Today Brad Gray of Walking the Text (walkingthetext.com) shares the apostle Paul’s transformation story in a way you’ve probably never heard, it’s amazing. Our launching pad is Paul sharing his story with his apprentice Timothy: “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief.
The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life” (1 Timothy 1:12-16).
So in our first conversation, Brad gives the incredible backstory to this short version of Paul’s story. In doing so we see the bottomless ocean of God’s grace to Paul and to you and me! Then, while Paul seems to be saying to Timothy: “If Jesus can forgive me, he can forgive anybody,” to Timothy, he also seems to be giving himself a pass in a couple of way: First when he says “Jesus considered me trustworthy,” was Paul saying that he was forgiven because of his trustworthiness? And when he says, “I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief,” was he saying “God forgave me ‘cause I really didn’t know what I was doing?”
The short answer is “No.” But Brad’s answer will blow you away with just how massive God’s grace is! And finally Brad ties in his own story with Paul’s by sharing about his addiction to porn while he was a bible teacher. And in this heart opening conversation we find that God won’t accept our resignation when we disqualify ourselves. What he does is recycle our mistakes into something beautiful! Share this amazing Freedom Friday with someone who needs this message, which is everyone!
Perry LaHaie is a radio host, singer, and songwriter with a passion to see the Great Commission completed in our generation. He was born and raised in northern Michigan, earned a degree in communications, and later a graduate degree in cross-cultural communications. Music and ministry have taken him all over the world. He served at Family Life Radio before serving with Frontiers, a worldwide ministry to Muslims. Perry and his wife, Teresa, have two children, Kali and Taylor.
Shawna Beyer has been a business owner, homeschool mom, church planter, project lead for a management consulting company, and church staff member. Born and raised in Southern California, she has been married for 25 years and is the mom of four. Shawna loves to help others discover a personal relationship with God that shapes how they think, feel, and live for Jesus daily. She loves being surrounded by her family and a good cup of coffee.