“And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.” 1 Tim 1:12-14
What is God’s disposition towards the flaws and failings of men? This is a question many have failed to answer. How we answer this will both determine our view of God’s character and command the response we have towards people.
Our opening scripture talks about Apostle Paul, his past and ministerial calling. He didn’t wallow in the fact that he had an unworthy past, one that included initiating and supporting the killing of God’s people. He wielded his past as an opportunity and platform for exploit in ministry. He recognized he was ignorant and blind, and received wholeheartedly God’s forgiveness and mercy in Christ.
For a lot of people, God has forgiven them but they haven’t learnt to move on from past mistakes. Handling your past with grace will demand that you move forward from the flaws of the past. We must recognize that God is not intimidated by our flaws. In the book of Ezekiel, we see God’s commitment to cleansing man from sin and the effects of Adam’s transgression.
Ezekiel 36:26-27 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
God made a promise and fulfilled it in the person and work of Christ. It was all of God, none of us. Our only contribution to the redemptive work was the sin that made it necessary. His death was for our sins.
You must allow your negative pasts motivate, rather than hinder you. Apostle Paul was a very good example. When you think about the things he said about his past, you can only come to the conclusion that one of the reasons he had such a fervent Christian life is because of the past he once had.
1 Tim 1:15-16 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.”
This must be our disposition to past flaws, ours and others. We recognize, appreciate and appropriate the mercy and grace we have received in the Lord.
We’ll look at more scriptural examples tomorrow.
Say This: I wield my past as an exploit in ministry. I handle my past and the past of others with grace.