“For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” – 1 Corinthians 15:9-10
Many times I have counseled people who desperately wanted to serve God but their was something holding them back, a lie planted by Satan himself that kept them from receiving God’s delivering and saving grace. This lie is probably the most common tactic used by Satan to keep people who want to give their life to God from truly doing it. It’s the lie that they are too wicked to be forgiven. Shame, guilt, thoughts of unworthiness, and fear flood their mind as they hear the devil say, “God can’t love you. He can’t use you. Look at what you’ve done. You’re too wicked. You can’t change.”
Oh but God had a plan. God, in His omnipotence, knew that Satan would use this tactic before Satan himself even did, and positioned His divine chest pieces for the great checkmate that would crush this lie completely. To those who or being oppressed by this kind of thinking I simply point out that chest piece called “Paul“, and tell them this:
None of us are worthy. We do not deserve God’s forgiveness so you are not alone. Scripture tells us that while we were yet sinners Jesus died for us, that we might be saved. He chose to die for you knowing exactly what you were and what you were doing but still gave all that you might be able to be freed from the bondage of who you were to become something better. God knew that Satan would sell you this lie, the lie that the things you have done are unforgivable and that you are worthless, unlovable, and unusable, but He loved you so much that He arranged history itself just to prove to you how untrue that is. He called Paul, a man who’s job it was to hunt down, persecute, torture, imprison, and even aid in the killing of Christians, a man who held the coats of the very men that stoned Stephen to death (the first recorded martyr for Christ) as he died. You could not be more wicked and unforgivable then Paul was, yet God forgave him, saved him, changed him, and used him to do great works for His Kingdom. Paul not only became a believer, he became the greatest of the apostles and was the most influential man in the building of the New Testament church, he also wrote most of the New Testament of the Bible and is single handedly responsible for bringing more souls to Christ then any other person in the history of the world. Not of his own power but because He believed that God was who He said He was and that He could do what He said He could do, even to the extent of saving and using a man like him. God did all of that for you, so that you would know that if He could forgive and use a man like Paul, He can forgive and use you too, if you only believe. It doesn’t matter how much of a mess you have made of your life thus far, God can deliver you from it and just like He did with Paul, He can turn your mess into a message that will help to encourage and deliver others as well, if you will simply trust Him enough to let Him do it.
“Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” – Micah 7:18-19
“Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;” – Psalms 103:1-4
“I Won’t Forget” by Anthony Evans