Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The divine grace that enables

Acts 22 (New International Version)

Then Paul said: 3"I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. Under Gamaliel I was thoroughly trained in the law of our fathers and was just as zealous for God as any of you are today. 4I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, 5as also the high priest and all the Council can testify. I even obtained letters from them to their brothers in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished

Paul, then Saul, trained in the law, would have known very well that he should not kill as it is one of the ten commandments, yet he committed murder, first over Stephen, then the followers of Jesus. It is ironical.

Saul was under the law then, under the old covenant and he was veiled and blinded and could not see that he was breaking God’s commandment. This is an example that the law is not able to stop us from sinning eventhough we know the law; the law only shows how sinful we are but has no divine enablement to help us live the laws out. Instead, the power of sin is the law, for the law gives ammunition for the enemy to condemn Saul and caused Saul to become a murderer, for the devil is the murderer from the very beginning.

If you know the complete story, praise God, Saul had an encounter with Jesus (grace and truth) later. He had his name changed to Paul, a new beginning into the new covenant life. God started to reveal in depths on the gospel of the finished work of Jesus and used Paul to write the epistles, which we now have that contain the revelations of the new covenant.

Isn’t God gracious to turn a person, steeped in the law, a murderer, to become the greatest preacher on the unconditional love of God, that is grace. God’s grace enabled Saul to come out of the law. It is amazing grace. We need that dose of the Damascus road experience, the repentance, that divine encounter that will change our destiny from old covenant living to the much more glorious new covenant lifestyle. Rejoice.

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