Concerning the forgiveness of God we have an incredible le example in the Scriptures. We find a figure who really loved God, but did not want to see that Jesus was a favourite of God. He even thought the followers of that Jesus had to be killed and those teachings of that Nazarene silenced.
In the Book of books we can find the Roman man who was monstrous and unmerciful; breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord. He made havoc of the church, entering into every house and hauling away men and women, putting them in prison. Indeed, some he even put to death.
On his way to Damascus, going to do away of those followers of Christ, he got stricken by light and blinded. He came to understand he was blind though he could see and now when he was blind he came to see and understand who that sent one from God was and why that man of flesh and blood was so important.
When Paul of Tarsus was called by Jesus it was because God loved this man and wanted to use that man to proclaim the truth about the Nazarene man of flesh and blood, who gave his life for mankind. For sure God forgave Paul his horrible acts, killing so many in the name of God. Can you imagine the difficulty the followers of Christ had by having to accept this vengeful killer of fellow brothers having chosen by Jesus and by god to become a speaker for Christ?
The talmidim and other followers of Christ may have found Paul his conversion to be a bit of a stretch. But clearly they underestimated the power of the Most High. Once more in history we can see that God forgave a person and was willing to use him for his Plan. By the act of Jesus, giving his life, by doing the Will of his heavenly Father, salvation or liberation of death and whitewashing of sin came unto mankind and as such also on Paul.
“Paul was indeed a new creation in Christ, old things had passed away and all things were becoming new. He came a stayed with me for about two weeks and we talked at great length about many things. And one thing towered above all others in Paul’s mind – it was the Grace of God.”
Peter at first had at first not such a good eye on the choice of Jesus to use Paul for his work. He also had an other idea about the Grace of God.
“His understanding of grace was different than what we had been taught from our childhood. We had viewed grace as God’s favour, given in kindness to the undeserving. But this was not the message Paul brought to me.
“Grace is the power of Christ working in me and through me,”
he said with such passion and conviction, one could hardly resist him.
“I got this directly from the Lord Jesus himself,”
he would add; underscoring his resolve in making sure I understood it.
Paul was not only convincing; he was right.
The apostles remembered how Jesus had told them that there would come to them a Spirit of Truth, who was going to guide them into all the truth. (John 16:12-13) They also remembered that the Most High was going to reveal what was Christ’s. When Jesus said that the Spirit would take the things that are his and will reveal or disclose (transmit) it to them (Joh16:15) they did not understand it. But now they were confronted by some other ideas which they would never have thought of before. Peter confesses
“I myself had indeed experienced the grace of God on many occasions, but did not fully understand it at the time. I just knew that the power of the Lord was surging in me and through me in ways that left me amazed with what happened. Think about it – my shadow healed a man! I guess you could say I took the heat off of him. Yet, it wasn’t me; it was the grace of God in me.
After the conversion of Paul they came to see how his work pulled others to recognise Jesus as the Way to God. They also understood God must have forgiven Paul for what he did against followers of Jesus and even made him in a new
“Fisher of men.”
Peter had experienced the Lord’s power many times; but when he was fifteen days with Paul, it helped him to understand more fully that it was the grace of God in him – and through him. It was the power of Christ helping him to do His will. Paul and Peter became fast friends. He wrote
Our visit together also showed me that, while Paul was an apostle to the Gentiles, and I to the Jews – we both were life-long friends on one mission: Proclaiming to all the Gospel of God’s Grace!
The love of God giving forgiveness to Paul opened new doors. The forgiveness of the prosecuted followers of Christ, members of the sect The Way, now forgave Paul for what he had done and gave him full credit for doing the work of God and being a righteous preacher in the name of Christ.
Today we too should always be open-minded, even to people who are against us, or who do everything against our movement. We should forgive their attacks against us and should try with friendly words to have them to come to open their eyes. We also should pray for those who do not yet see that Jesus is the way to God, the sent one from God, who is now sitting at the right hand of God, as a mediator between God and man.
Even when they keep attacking us, we should keep forgiving them, even perhaps thinking
“Please God forgive them, because they do not know what they do.”