This week we are diving into two of the most important conversion stories in the Acts and the Bible at large. Chapter 9 covers the conversion story of Saul of Tarsus who later becomes Paul, and chapter 10 recounts the story of Cornelius the Roman centurion. Both stories echo the sentiment that God does not show partiality in whom He chooses to use for his divine purposes. God can and does use all kinds of people. Just look at who Saul and Cornelius were. Saul was responsible for the death and persecution of many Christians. Cornelius was a gentile. The idea that God would choose to use a non-Jew was utterly scandalous considering Jewish customs at the time made one unclean for associating with gentiles. Oh, and by the way, he was also part of the same Roman Empire that was ultimately responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus!
Some of you need to hear this because you are not fully convinced that God can use you, let alone love you. I need this message every day! The world says that there are good people and bad people but this is an illusion. Psalm 114 puts this idea to rest saying, “none is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.” We are loved, and thus used by God not because of who we are, but because of who He is. The only requirement is that we seek after God with all of our heart.
A couple of weeks ago my family and I went to a banquet honoring high school students for their service hours in the community. One of the students being recognized was a young man with some mental disabilities. I think if he could have he would have hugged everyone in the room (he hugged my sister twice). God blessed me that day because He used that kid to give me a small glimpse of how He loves us and how we are to love others. No matter whom we are, or what we have done, God loves us with the same unfailing and child-like love.
Before you dig into this week’s readings I want you to shrug off the lie that God can’t use you. Pray that through the stories of Paul and Cornelius that God will reveal to you His unfailing love. Pray also that God will show you how the mistakes of your past can be used as unique opportunities to share the gospel with others. Thank you and go with God and be at peace.
- Kyle Bogner
“Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears Him and does what is right is acceptable to Him.”
Acts 10:34-35 (ESV)