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Never A Lost Cause

The story about Saul the Christian killer in Acts 9 reminds me of another person I knew who seemed impossibly far from God.

My dad used to pick up hitchhikers and homeless men and bring them home to dinner unannounced. Mom would quietly make more rice or spaghetti and we'd slide over to make room at the table while Dad told the man about Jesus.

One day, Dad brought home a rough-looking man with long hair, a beard and an attitude that seemed like he'd just as soon punch you as look at you. Over the next few weeks, Joe became a regular guest at the table. It wasn't too long before Joe went with us to church and not long after that when he gave his life to Jesus. I've seldom witnessed such a radical change in anyone. Joe, the last guy I'd have thought would respond to Jesus, had a brand new heart.

Our job is to give, as winsomely as possible, the message of hope to the people God puts in our path, but Jesus is the one who saves. Salvation is a miraculous transformation from death to life, not an intellectual assent to a creed. Paul, the same man we read about in Acts 9, wrote in Ephesians 2:8-10: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Reflect

  • What is the difference between an intellectual assent to a creed and the transformation of salvation?
  • How are you trusting Jesus to use you to share His message, or how are you trying to save people with your own power?
  • Who has God put in your life who seems to be a lost cause, and how can you share Jesus with that person?

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