A Most Unlikely Conversion
People who believe the Bible understand that we come into a relationship with God by faith, not our works. We can’t do anything on our own which qualifies us for heaven. If you are reading this and think otherwise, I beg you to contact me so we can discuss this further. But I find it troubling that while we don’t think we can do anything to qualify us for heaven, we can think that sometimes others can do things which disqualify them from heaven. We can look at someone’s lifestyle or their attitude about God and think, even if it is quietly to ourselves, “There’s no way that guy will ever get right with God” or something like that. I confess that I have done this in my life, and thankfully, was proven wrong by the incredible grace of God. In our current sermon series on Joshua we talked about this as God used a prostitute named Rahab to further His plan and she expressed faith in God alone.
Here is another example. The apostle Paul had a different name and a different job before believing in Jesus. Before believing in Jesus his name was Saul and he was a persecutor of those who followed Jesus. Here are Paul’s own words from Acts chapter 26 9 “Indeed, I myself thought I must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 This I also did in Jerusalem, and many of the saints I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them.11 And I punished them often in every synagogue and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities.12 “While thus occupied, as I journeyed to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, 13 at midday, O king, along the road I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me. He then goes on to recount his meeting with Jesus. Did you catch the relevant three word phrase in Paul’s words that go along with the theme of this post….go ahead, read his words again and see if you catch the phrase….do you see it?
The phrase is “while thus occupied” in verse 12. While Paul was occupied imprisoning and killing followers of Jesus, while he was on the road to Damascus to round up some more, God struck Him. Clearly, if anyone could be “disqualified” from receiving the grace of God it would be a guy named Saul. Yet, while he was still occupied in the persecution of saints, God showed Saul grace. God was actively working in his life. Saul’s conversion was clearly an unlikely conversion.
Most of us can picture people in our minds that we think are “too far gone” as it relates to Christianity. We think that often, incorrectly, because of what they do or what they have done. But if what we do can’t make us good enough for heaven, then what we do can’t disqualify us either. So, who is in your mind right now that you need to invite to church, or have a cup of coffee with to talk about God. Who might God be at work in right now that you don’t know and that you wouldn’t expect? Invite them…talk with them…pray for them…Who knows, you could play an important role in a most unlikely conversion.
Also, perhaps you could spend a minute thanking God for saving you through Jesus Christ. You didn’t deserve it. In fact, when God saved you, you might have been a very “unlikely conversion” in the mind of someone else!