Bible Characters: Paul

God's Word - Shame & Guilt

Post-abortive people can take real comfort from Biblical characters and how God treated, used and interacted with them. When it comes to the emotion of anger, the Apostle Paul, formerly known as Saul, knew a great deal about hating and murder. Prior to finding Christ, Paul killed Christians with incredible brutality. His hatred of all things Godly meant many of God’s people died. On the Damascus Road, God reaches out to him and changes his heart forevermore. Read that story of Paul’s transformation – Acts 9.

Paul’s words from I Timothy 1:12-13, 16 outline God’s reasoning in forgiving his great sin, which post-abortive people can really relate to – I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief…I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an EXAMPLE  for those who would believe on Him and receive eternal life.

After Paul experienced God’s transforming love, he stopped using the name Saul. Since Paul was a Roman citizen, he likely was given three names at birth. Before God intervened in Paul’s life, he was known as, “Saul, the Pharisee.”  After encountering God, he chose to be known as “Paul, citizen of Rome.” He lived a very different God-driven life as Paul versus his days as Saul. This is outlined in Acts 13:6-9.

Paul experienced great peril because of his ministry life. According to II Corinthians 1:8-11, Paul and his team endured massive pressure one day in Asia where they, “despaired even of life” – We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.

Paul struggled with a “thorn in his side” which had a specific ministry purpose, found in 2 Corinthians 12:5-10 … I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

 Paul often endured trials and persecutions for God’s sake. In 2 Timothy 4:16 Paul wrote, At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

The Apostle Paul’s life is a testimony to God’s grace, mercy and power working in the life of one sinner. His last written word is found in his second letter to his friend, Timothy – (2 Timothy 4:6-8)  “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”

It’s time to realize that as post-abortive people, we are no different from Saul. Yet with God’s love, all that can change and we can become transformed, like Paul. Our sin can be used as a testimony to God’s grace. Our lives can be directed by God to do great things for Him.

No matter how many abortions you may have had, or any other sins you have committed, God loves you and is not angry with you. He wasn’t angry with Saul because He knew that with His touch on this man’s heart, it would break and become something He could use in reaching so many others with the hope of healing after any and every sinful act!

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