While the Bible contains countless stories of amazing healing, whether it be physical or emotional, there is nothing greater than seeing souls redeemed and healed. Seeing testimonies of people who were once walking in darkness to come into the Light by the grace of God. Redemption.
To witness the evidence of the Spirit’s work by bringing people from who they were – sinners – to who they are after they realize the price Christ paid for them. Redemption.
The case of Paul is probably the most poignant testimony of that very thing. He was not afraid to tell his story. He was not ashamed. He knew the power of God that had worked in him and caused him such change and he proclaimed it.
He shared all the gritty details of the man he once was and he did it several times when he spoke or preached to the multitudes. One example of this practice was while he was in Jerusalem, in Acts 22; Paul started by revealing his past:
“I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated at the feet of Gamaliel according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God as all of you are this day. I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering to prison both men and women, as the high priest and the whole council of elders can bear me witness. From them I received letters to the brothers, and I journeyed toward Damascus to take those also who were there and bring them in bonds to Jerusalem to be punished.” — verses 3-5
The emphasis added, by me, confirms that he confessed he was a murderer of those who followed Jesus. He also provided witnesses to his acts. But then he continued:
“As I was on my way and drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone around me. And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’
And I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’
And he said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’
Now those who were with me saw the light but did not understand the voice of the one who was speaking to me. And I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’
And the Lord said to me, ‘Rise, and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all that is appointed for you to do.’ And since I could not see because of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me, and came into Damascus.‘” — verses 6-11
Through his story and subsequent telling of his transformation, which started the moment he believed God’s own words to him on that road. there’s an obvious change in Paul, through this interaction. As he retells the story, he doesn’t make light of his previous character and behavior.
He doesn’t justify himself. He knows who he was. And he knows who Jesus caused him to be after meeting him.
The same is true for us. We need not to be ashamed of who we once were. We live in freedom from condemnation now.
When we tell our stories of the change that God caused in us when we met Him, He gets the glory! What a powerful thing that is to see for those who don’t yet know Him!
Tell people your story. Don’t cover up the terrible parts. Those dirty secrets that are now washed clean are the elements of His grace that displays His glory. No one is perfect so please don’t put that persona on display. Be real. Be authentic.
“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain…” — Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15:10