GRACE KILLED ME
By Chris Nicely: My story ended when the Grace of God became more than just words on paper or a speech from the pulpit. It was in a small room late one evening when a simple statement changed everything…
For years, I stood confident in my salvation. I knew what the Bible had to say about God’s love, forgiveness, and mercy. The question, “How could God love me?”’ had been answered.
However, something was still not right.
To be honest, even though I was forgiven for my sin, I was still enslaved by another question: “How could God use someone like me?” I knew Jesus loved me, but I felt useless because of my past life of selfish ambition and ruthless promotion.
I remained in this lukewarm state of confusion for a long time. So there I sat in a small room late one evening when these words changed everything, “God doesn’t call the qualified; He qualifies the called.”
Could it be true? Or just some clever statement of self-help?
After making this hope-filled statement, the pastor shared 1 Timothy 1:12-15,
“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer and persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; and the grace of our Lord was more abundant, with the faith and love, which are found in Christ Jesus. It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.”
It was a simple, unexpected moment, when God’s mercy met God’s grace. The apostle Paul was a murderer of Christians -- a self proclaimed ‘blasphemer’ and ‘violent aggressor’ -- and God not only showed him mercy, but grace!? I knew God’s mercy had forgiven me, but I never understood how His grace could redeem me.
If God could use someone like Paul, why couldn’t He use someone like me?
It was in that moment that I realized the grace of God killed the old me. It was in that moment that I realized I may be a product of my past, but I am not a slave to it.
I was a new creation -- one forgiven by love and fueled by grace. And so are you.
May we reveal love, mercy and grace by proudly declaring we are People of the Second Chance.