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Preacher D. L. Moody set aside a day to study the subject of God’s grace. Even on the third day Moody had not finished his study. By the late afternoon of the third day, Moody was so filled with this subject that he had to go out on the street and talk to somebody about it. Stopping a complete stranger, Moody said, “My friend, do you know anything about grace?” Surprised at the question, the man replied, “Grace who. I do not know where Grace went?” Moody then spoke to him the grace of God that brings salvation.
Well, we have all experienced grace at some point in our life. Perhaps a policeman stopped you for using your mobile while driving and just giving you a warning when you deserved a ticket. Perhaps a time when you said hurting words to a friend or spouse and they forgave you. Each one of us, at certain times, experiences grace. But God’s grace is something much, much beyond human understanding.
To know God’s grace, we need to know the difference between God’s mercy and grace? In God’s mercy he does not give us what we deserve. By his grace he gives us what we do not deserve. Grace is unearned, undeserved, love, favour and kindness to us.
To understand the grace of God, I am going to show you the change God’s grace brought upon Apostle Paul. We will see his life before grace and life in grace.
Ephesians 2 is an example of what life was before grace with every one of us. Ephesians 2:1-3 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, (you had no life and dead in sin) 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world (you did what the world does) and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient (satanic power). 3All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.
That is life before grace. All of us were there before we trusted Jesus Christ as our saviour.
Sin reaches into a person’s life to many different degrees. What specifically was Paul the Apostle’s life before he received Grace? Acts 26:9-11 9“I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the Lord’s people in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. 11Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. I was so obsessed with persecuting them that I even hunted them down in foreign cities.
Look at his man. He had one goal - Eradicate the Christian faith, blaspheme the name of Jesus, eradicate the church. Usually you think about Apostle Paul you think about a godly man. This is Apostle Paul before grace.
How did such a hardcore criminal against God’s people change? Acts 9:1-6 1Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. (Now here is what changed him from wickedness to grace) 3As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” 5“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. 6“Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”