TRPC Broadcast Email – Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Good Morning church,
In the OneCallNow broadcast phone call yesterday I shared my goal of emailing out to our church with news, updates and prayer requests; to include a daily devotion; to help begin our day honoring the One who deserves it the most. In days to come there should be more information than is shared today, as time and ability allows.
The Apostle Of Grace — Acts 9:1-19
“As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” … … “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied.” (Acts 9:3-6)
The conversion of Saul of Tarsus was an amazing event. Saul loathed the very name of Christ. He blasphemed Him and caused others to be tortured so as to compel them to blaspheme that holy name. He led his nation and the world in rebellion against the resurrected, glorified Christ — the world which had already disowned and crucified the lowly Jesus.
But as Saul went to Damascus, still “breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord” (Acts 9:1), God did a wonderful thing. Rather than crush the leader of the world’s rebellion, He saved him. Christ broke through the heavens, as it were, to speak words of pity to His greatest enemy on earth. As a result Saul’s rebellious spirit was broken and in one moment the pitiless persecutor became the docile, indeed the devoted follower of Christ.
More than this, Saul of Tarsus, the persecutor, became Paul the Apostle. To him the glorified Lord committed “the dispensation of the grace of God” (Eph. 3:2) and “the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24). Now he went everywhere proclaiming grace, telling men how God loved them, how Christ had come into the world and had gone to Calvary to pay man’s debt of sin so that believing sinners might be saved.
“The gospel of the grace of God,” found in Paul’s epistles, does not blame anyone for the death of Christ. Rather it presents the cross as good news. It declares that “we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7). It says that “God hath concluded them all in unbelief that He might have mercy upon all” (Rom. 11:32) and that “where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Rom. 5:20). Thus the vilest sinner may believe and rejoice in the consciousness of sins forgiven.
A person’s past does not matter to Christ. He is more interested in a person’s future. Even though Saul had been one of Jesus’ cruelest enemies, he became one of his closest friends. God’s forgiveness is full and final. God often chooses the most unlikely people to accomplish his will. Over and over in the Bible, God picked flawed men and women to help carry out his plan of salvation. The lesson is that the power comes from God; the person is only a vessel. When God calls a person to a task, he equips that person for it. Paul received the Holy Spirit, along with the truth of the gospel so he could share it with others. Paul could not have achieved this remarkable accomplishment in his own strength. He was empowered by God.
Rev. Patrick Lanaghan
Timber Ridge Presbyterian Church
166 Timber Ridge Road
Lexington, Virginia 24450