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Called, Forgiven And Blessed

1 Timothy 1:12-14
I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. 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. (NIV)

In contrast to some false teachers, who were saying that only good people find favour with God, the Apostle Paul admits that he had lived an evil life, even though he was a theological lecturer. Although Christ appointed him to be an Apostle, it was not because he was a good man. He had not obeyed the law and he had not honoured Jesus. Indeed, he had blasphemed God by denigrating Jesus, and he had violently persecuted the church. Nevertheless, Paul was given strength to believe and work for Jesus.

Jesus Christ was merciful to Paul; he had no idea how badly he was sinning and yet he was forgiven, and the mercy of Christ covered all his sins. In addition, the grace of Christ was poured into Paul in far greater measure than all the bad things he had done. That grace gave Paul the ability to trust and love the Lord. So Paul’s teaching was backed up by his own experience; he was not ashamed to say that he had experienced God’s mercy and grace which comes to sinners (those who have disobeyed God’s law) when they repent and submit themselves to Jesus.

God’s calling always precedes a sinner turning to Christ. As in Paul’s case, that calling was not just for the peace of forgiveness to ease his guilty conscience. The calling was to serve the Lord. This is always true. We are not saved to reduce our problems and have a more comfortable life; we are saved to serve. In other words, our salvation has divine purpose built into it; not just to rescue us from hell or comfort us in our troubles, but enabling us to be a part of the “family business” of God in the world. Wherever you may live and work, personal survival and providing for family should not be your top objective. These are important, but knowing that the Lord has called you to serve Him should give fresh purpose to every day as you ask the Lord what pleases Him.

Prayer 
Merciful and gracious God. Thank You that You love me despite my sinfulness. Thank You for extending Your mercy to a sinner like me and graciously giving me so much that I do not deserve. Forgive me for sometimes thinking that I am somehow virtuous when I obey You, or that You will abandon me when I fail You. Please help me to admit my sin and receive limitless mercy and grace. Then please keep reminding me that I am saved to serve. So please show me how I can do that in the way that You want. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams

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