Our natural state is to be in rebellion against God. When we are in this state we may not be aware of it, or of the evil that is impacting our lives. It’s usually easy to see the evil of others, but we remain oblivious to our own wrongs.
Paul was someone who was able to recognize his own sin and rebellion, because Jesus dramatically stopped him in his tracks when he was on an evil rampage to track down, imprison or kill anyone who was part of a new movement that followed Jesus Christ.
Jesus powerfully intervened in Paul’s life and brought a dramatic alteration that has powerfully impacted history. After Paul’s encounter with Jesus Christ, he went from being a persecutor intent on destroying those who followed Jesus, to an ardent proclaimer of this new message. His words are recorded for us in ancient documents written both from the perspective of close eyewitnesses and his own personal accounts. We learn the details of Paul’s encounter with God and how the mission and course of his life was drastically altered from the time of his encounter with Jesus until he died.
Many in our world today deny God. Or, if they admit to a possible “higher power,” they do not accept that Jesus Christ is our Creator, God’s revelation, plan, mystery and answer to man’s situation. They do not realize that this failure to respond to God’s gift of Jesus will ultimately separate them from their Creator.
Most people alive today have heard of Jesus. Most of us consider ourselves well-informed on most topics. When presented with a new angle on a subject with which we feel relatively knowledgeable, we often resist. Spiritual insight is given to those who seek it.
Paul was zealous with a spiritual zeal and Jesus dramatically poured life and light into his life so that he would see and understand the plans of God.
Paul summarized his mission that Jesus gave him:
- To open the eyes of those who don’t understand the truth of God; and
- Bring light to those who are oblivious to the work God has done through Jesus.
He said there are two kinds of people in the world and the gap that separates them is faith in Jesus Christ. (Acts 26:18)
At one time every single person on earth was a member of the box on the left. Paul was a raging Christian-killer living in darkness, under the power of Satan, ruled by sin, facing sure judgment, all while he thought he was doing God’s will and bringing about God’s plans on earth. Up to this point, Paul had ardently conformed to the rules and structure of his religious traditions, completely unaware that he was on the wrong track.
I was once living in darkness, under the power of Satan, ruled by sin and facing sure judgment. I differed from Paul in that I had been taught about Jesus, but had turned my back on Him. I rejected the faith and knowledge that had been passed on to me by my parents. I thought I knew better. I became ensnared under the power of Satan to think that God’s way was not good and that I could find more happiness, success, and fulfillment on my own. I did not know I was becoming a slave to the power of Satan and that my life was ruled by sin.
The only difference between those who remain in the box on the left and those who are in the box on the right, is faith. They have been set apart by faith in Jesus Christ. It is a spiritual transaction that may not be grasped intellectually. In fact, many that stubbornly refuse to explore the spiritual process of faith in Jesus will remain in darkness, under the power of Satan, ruled by sin and facing judgment.
It is not God’s desire for anyone to stay in the box on the left. He invites everyone to move, through faith, to the box on the right: to discover light, know the power of God, know forgiveness from sin, and have a place with God’s people forever.
David wrote of the reality of these two kinds of people, even though he didn’t fully understand God’s purpose and plan that we now have full access to, through Jesus:
Sin whispers to the wicked, deep within their hearts.
They have no fear of God at all.
In their blind conceit,
They cannot see how wicked they really are.
Everything they say is crooked and deceitful.
They refuse to act wisely or do good.
They lie awake at night, hatching sinful plots.
Their actions are never good.
They make no attempt to turn from evil.
Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens;
Your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
Your justice like the ocean depths.
You care for people and animals alike, O Lord.
How precious is your unfailing love, O God!
All humanity finds shelter
In the shadow of your wings.
You feed them from the abundance of your own house,
Letting them drink from your river of delights.
For you are the fountain of life,
The light by which we see.
Pour out your unfailing love on those who love you;
Give justice to those with honest hearts.
Don’t let the proud trample me
Or the wicked push me around.
Look Those who do evil have fallen!
They are thrown down, never to rise again.
David, Psalm 36
Author: Becky Hastings, wife, mother, grandmother, passionate follower of Jesus Christ and truth seeker, especially in the areas of health and children. Facing a world quite different from the one in which I grew up, I seek to research and understand the true route to health, freedom and joyful family living!