Daily Devotional: Psalms 85:1-7
1 You showed favor to your land, O LORD; you restored the fortunes of Jacob. 2 You forgave the iniquity of your people and covered all their sins. Selah 3 You set aside all your wrath and turned from your fierce anger. 4 Restore us again, O God our Savior, and put away your displeasure toward us. 5 Will you be angry with us forever? Will you prolong your anger through all generations? 6 Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? 7 Show us your unfailing love, O LORD, and grant us your salvation.
1 Tim 1:15-17
15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners-of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Think of all the things that Paul suffered for the name of Jesus Christ. When he became a Christian, his friends turned against him and sought to kill him. He was put in prison, he was beaten, stoned and suffered shipwreck. We cannot imagine all that he went through in order to preach the gospel of Christ. But he put his trust in Jesus with all his heart and said that all the suffering was not worthy to be compared to the glory that was going to be revealed to him in the last day.
But all of this is the later part of his life. In his former days he was the ringleader of the ones who were persecuting Christians. He tried to force them to deny the name of Jesus. He put them in prison and gave his consent to put them to death for their faith. He was there when Stephen was stoned and cheered as the mob threw the stones at him. He was as bad as anyone could be in his zeal.
If God can forgive Paul (and he did) then he can forgive anyone! He wants to forgive the drunk living on skid row and the drug addict that broke into a house last night. Jesus died for the sins of the whole world, not just for those raised in church. No matter what one has done, God can and will forgive them when they come to him in faith. So we must share the good news of salvation with all.
Heavenly Father I am so thankful for your love for all of mankind. I am especially thankful that you are willing to forgive me. I realize that my sin deserves death and therefore required the death of Jesus as much as the sins of Paul. Keep me from comparing myself with other people so I will only compare myself with Jesus and his life. Use me to share your good news with the lost. Fill me with your Spirit so I will show the love of Jesus to all. I humbly pray in his holy name.