“Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” ~Romans 7:25a, NIV
Somehow that phrase always seems to have a negative bent. You know, you’re reading along and suddenly something happens to a character, and life changes. We know it can’t be good. Life was good before. And then it changed, and we’ve got trouble.
But what if it wasn’t. Trouble, that is. What if it were different, positive – life CHANGING! Take a man, for example whose zeal was red-hot while his heart was stone cold. What a contradiction; passion pouring out of a lifeless soul. How does that happen? The need to be right? A desire for significance? Maybe a misguided intent; an arrow, sharp and deadly, fired into the blackness of night. It slices what it cannot see, destroys what it does not know.
Such a man condones unmerciful violence – murder in the name of righteousness. “Leave your coat at my feet,” he says. “The blood of this rebel, this blasphemer will not taint your spotless robe of self-righteousness.”
“But his words are true!” One may dare to argue with the man of stone. “His claim comes from the prophets, from the mouth of God. How can you ignore the truth?”
He cannot hear. His ears have been stopped. He cannot see. He has not vision. Only passion, coupled with arrogance. And so the innocent is crushed, with our heartless legalist looking on with approval. Nodding grimly. Counting… one down, so many more to go.
So many more to go. And he goes.
Until Truth blinds him. Until light casts him into darkness and he cannot see his way to persecute.
“Who are you, Lord?”
“It is I, the Christ. The one you are persecuting.”
And suddenly life changes. The heart of stone is melted into one of flesh. Blindness gives sight to that which cannot be seen, and new vision births purpose. Purpose is joined with passion. Saul is no longer, Paul has been born again.
Praise God, life changes.