Posted by: mikenicholsblog | March 9, 2017

never too far gone

Sometimes when we read passages of Scripture there is a fresh emphasis on principles we had already known, but in that moment strike a nerve. Paul’s radical conversion to Christ and his outstanding witness for Christ have been re-emphasized to me this week in the latter chapters of the book of Acts. Today, Christ-followers need to be intentional about our witness. The world needs a Savior.

Without a doubt, there is someone in your life who needs to make a commitment to Jesus Christ as his or her personal Savior. There is also no doubt that Jesus is the only Way to the Father, and an eternity in heaven. But we all struggle with doubt, wondering if that particular person in need of Christ will ever take the ultimate step of faith. We don’t doubt God’s love, or His ability to change a life, we just wonder about that special and specific person…

Seventeen years ago, one of my work associates was anything but a Christian. It would have been easy to doubt even the hope of that future reality. But in an amazing way, God changed his life.  And I often tell him, one thing you can’t deny is “the testimony of a changed life.” He has been transformed from a worldly and self-centered man, to one who possesses a passionate faith and who is a selfless giver. Was he ever too far gone?! … Not for God!!

On an ugly day of persecution, a great follower of Christ was martyred. His name was Stephen. But there was also a man directly involved in his persecution that we all have come to admire and acknowledge as a hero of the faith. Acts 8:1 says, “And Saul was there giving approval to his death.”  This is the same Saul who was converted on the Damascus road and became known as the Apostle Paul. Wait a minute! But he was a persecutor of the church of God! Knowing me (and you), if I had lived then and known Saul, I would have doubted that this man would ever be converted, much less become a voice for Christ … the voice that God specifically chose to carry the gospel beyond the borders of His chosen people.  Most would have thought Saul was too far gone … but not God!

I would guess that every person reading this post has sung the beloved hymn “Amazing Grace” countless times. But if we had known the author of its words early in his life, there is no doubt we would have doubted he would become a man of faith. John Newton was a ruthless slave trader and captained his own ship. During a violent storm at sea, he had “a great deliverance.” His life was remarkably changed and generations have benefited from that change. Note the first verse of Amazing Grace.

Amazing Grace! (How sweet the sound)
That sav’d a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

John Newton knew grace and knew that God had “sav’d a wretch like me.” Even though we don’t doubt God’s ability, would we have wondered about this man Newton? I am thankful that God stretched out His arms of grace, and inspired this man to forever touch the world.

So … who do you love that needs the Lord? Have you ever doubted if they would trust the Savior? The personal story of my friend, the biblical account of Paul, and the historical tale of John Newton are evidence of God’s radical and incredible life-changing love. He gave His best, Jesus Christ, as a sacrifice for all of us, and all our sins. The truth is, we are all sinners — wretches if you would — and are only changed by faith in Christ.

So today, if you know Him, give thanks that “you were blind, but now you see.” And don’t doubt that those you love can have their eyes opened too. Pray with faith for that special person, and don’t doubt. I trust and pray that one day, you will smile when that person who was “once lost, is now found.


Responses

  1. True grace is scandalous!!!


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