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. 1 Timothy 1:13-14 (NIV).
Reiterating verse 13 helps to better understand the impact of verse 14. Even though we were once despicable, God, through His Son Jesus, gave us everything out of the love in His heart so that we might live. Even though we spend so much of our lives thinking, saying, doing things that are against God, God still unceasingly pours love into us through our faith in His Son, Jesus.
Everything you want to know about Christianity is there. If you’re satisfied, here endeth the lesson. Go have a great day. Naturally I’ll keep talking…
“Amazing Grace;” you know the song. The man who wrote it, John Newton, was a slaver. He carried slaves from Africa to Europe and the Americas. In fact, according to Wikipedia, Newton was terrible man, the most profane man one of his ship captains had ever met. Newton blasphemed God, mocked other men for displaying faith in God, and even denounced his own faith in Jesus at one point…
…until a terrible storm off the Irish coast brought him to his knees and Newton cried out to God for help. That was the start of a conversion that took most of a decade. Newton turned from slavery and the sea and became an evangelical minister. And a songwriter. Paul and John Newton might have found commonality in their past; they weren’t so very different in character.
Sort of like you and me.
When we were still very much obsessed with our sins and mired in the dysfunction that results, God reached to us through His Spirit and touched our hearts. We can come to know Jesus as the opposite of sin, as the antidote for what ails us. Sin isn’t love and love overcomes sin. When we learn the love of Jesus that He gives us through His Spirit, we can be remade, reborn, renewed, and refreshed to undertake something better.
That happened to Paul. It happened to John Newton. It’s happened to me, and I hope it has happened to you, too. If it hasn’t, open up and let Him in.
Everything you need to know about Christianity, about following Jesus, is summed up in the concept of grace. God loves us through grace and we get to love others this same way. Paraphrasing Newton, it’s an amazing, sweet sound to hear God speak to your heart and impart that He loves you. That He loves you just the way you are through His grace.
For further reading: 2 Corinthians 4:15, 2 Timothy 1:13, 1 Thessalonians 1:3, 1 Timothy 1:16
Lord above, come to me here below and touch me with Your grace. Grow my faith and help me to better share You.