1Ti 1:12-13 I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, (13) though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief,
Often we come across the question of how we can say that abusers never change. And as was pointed out recently, that Jesus saved people like Zacchaeus the tax-collector and of course, Saul of Tarsus – the Apostle Paul. Aren’t these cases of abusers coming to repentance and being saved?
The kind of sinner, the brand of evil that we address here under the name “abuser,” is quite different. All sinners are not the same. The large majority of abusers do, what? They parade under a disguise of the most wonderful, charismatic, kind, holy, saintly….just keep piling on the adjectives….person you would ever know.
Mat_6:5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
Mat_6:16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
Mat 23:27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.
Understand? Think about it carefully. This is one of the typical qualities of the abuser. Hypocrite. Disguise. Mask. That is why so many of them are church members and claim to be fine Christians.
The Apostle Paul was never such a person. Did he abuse, before his conversion, Christians? Yes. But why? Because he genuinely believed that he was serving God in doing so. As he says, he acted “ignorantly in unbelief.” The Lord showed him mercy.
And here then is the difference. Paul was a sinner. He was a legalist, but he was not a hypocrite. He was what he was and did not pretend anything else. He was wrong. He was a sinner. He was persecuting Christ. But he was the real thing, even though that real thing was sinning.
One kind of person that Jesus did NOT eat with was the Pharisees and scribes – those hypocrites he pronounced divine woes upon. These are the real abusers. No conscience. No repentance. Lusting for power and control. Using and oppressing. Paul was never one of those. And you can bet that Nicodemus was not one either.
And it is those kind who do not change. Those are the abusers. They operate in knowing unbelief. And for them, God has no mercy.
Other Related Posts:
Saul of Tarsus was not an Abuser – Let Me Show You Why