In Singapore, we have the Yellow Ribbon Project to increase awareness, highlight the plight and facilitate the integration of ex-offenders back into society. For a man with a criminal record, this is an uphill task because many are still doubtful as to the sincerity and genuineness of this personʼs repentance. Yet, is it not true that God can take the vilest offender, transform him into the image of God and to use him for His glory?
Notice the wickedness of Paul
Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious:
1 Timothy 1:13
Paul, though a religious Pharisee, was a blasphemer in his own estimation because, not knowing the Lord, He spoke of things and did things that were against the Lord and His word. He was a persecutor who was personally responsible for the deaths of thousands of Christians and the destruction of many families (Acts 8:1 – 3). He was injurious, maltreating, insulting and despising the children of God. In summary, he was bad for the plan of God, beyond hope of anyone living. All Christians avoided him because meeting Paul was sealing your doom. No man could reach Paul – no one but God.
Notice the hand of God
God separated him from birth, calling him by His grace, and saving Him by His power. Paul (then Saul) was on his way to kill more Christians when the Lord Jesus intercepted him and brought him to a place of repentance, confession, and removal of his pride. The Lord Jesus dealt a death blow to this self-made Pharisee, removing his pride by removing his sight. God made him to be meek as a lamb that He may lay His power on Paul. God works endlessly and tirelessly to facilitate and accomplish His plan in the lives of His people. Anything that happens in our lives is never a mistake. God does all things for good (Ro 8:28) and we can be conﬁdent in this.
Notice the good that came out of this bad
And they gloriﬁed God in me.
Paul, previously a terror to people, became a blessing to them. The man who persecuted the Christians now preached the faith. Through Paul, God planted many churches and reached many people, gave us half the New Testament, established the New Testament teachings of the Bible for the local church and taught us the teaching of serving Christ with our all. God took a “bad apple” like Paul and transformed him into the famous apostle in the Bible.
Dear brethren, is there one person that you ﬁnd difﬁcult to reach or a loved one that you ﬁnd who is far away from the Lord? Have you found praying to be hard for that individual? Are our Sunday School children “beyond help” or a child in our families beyond remedy? Have faith in God, for God can turn that individual into a useful instrument for the kingdom of God! Let us trust the Lord with all our hearts – the One who changed murderous Saul to be soul-winner Paul and Who transformed the demoniac to be a missionary to Decapolis (ten cities) can still do the same today!
Evangelist-Pastor Johnny Tan
Ambassador Baptist Church