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  • Writer's pictureAdelee Russell

Who We Once Were

Acts 7:57-8:1, "Then they put their hands over their ears and began shouting. They rushed at [Stephen], and dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. His accusers took off their coats and laid them at the feet of a young man named Saul... Saul was one of the witnesses, and he agreed completely with the killing of Stephen. A great wave of persecution began that day, sweeping over the church in Jerusalem..." (NLT)

I have no idea if Paul ever saw these words that Luke wrote (although I'm assuming it's a possibility seeing as Luke traveled with him for some time).

But imagine if he had. Imagine the shame that might have overwhelmed him as he read these words that described his old life. His old sins. How he hunted down and destroyed the lives of innocent people. How he happily watched the executions of those who would one day become his brothers and sisters.

We read passages like Romans 8:1 "Therefore there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (NLT), and so many others in the various books he wrote. So many passages about the love and grace of God.

And we might take it for granted. We might not believe it applies to us personally.

Until we read these words. And we realize that Paul was a man whose hands were stained with innocent blood.

And we realize the battle that must have taken place in his spirit as he learned about grace. And learned to receive it.

Suddenly it means a whole lot more. Suddenly we think "Maybe it does apply to me. Maybe God's grace really does cover even the most heinous of all my sins. Maybe I really am loved. Maybe I really am free."

Question: Are you living in freedom from your past today? Are you claiming the forgiveness and grace you've been given in Christ?

Hebrews 8:12, "And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins" (NLT).

Colossians 2:14, "He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross" (NLT).

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