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Daily Devotions – Grace Before Repentance

Photo by KEEM IBARRA on Unsplash

 

 

Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart: https://sothrichfield.podbean.com

 

Acts 9:1-19 (NIV)
Saul’s Conversion
9 Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” 5 “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. 6 “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” 7 The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. 8 Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. 9 For three days he was blind and did not eat or drink anything.

10 In Damascus, there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!” “Yes, Lord,” he answered. 11 The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12 In a vision, he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.” 13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.” 15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” 17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength. Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus.

1 Timothy 1:15 (NIV)
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.

 

Grace before repentance—it happens.

There are people who are pure evil. I get so frustrated that it is hard for me to imagine that they could ever be forgiven and redeemed. But Saul was a murderer of innocent Christians. His soul was filled with darkness and in his arrogance, he didn’t seek repentance because he believed he was doing what was right. Many people are the same today. You died for Saul, you died for those who are evil today and You died for me while we were still sinners and before we even knew how much we needed to seek repentance. By Your Grace, not only did you rescue Saul from darkness, but You filled him with the Holy Spirit and used him to spread the Gospel to build Your church. Forgive me for judging others. I have no idea if someday they can be used for Your greater plan. You have the power to transform darkness into light. If You can use someone like Saul, who persecuted people who followed You,  You can use me with all of my inadequacies, past errors, and sins. Thank You for coming into the world to save sinners like me. Your Grace is Amazing. Amen