In fact, I myself was convinced that it was necessary to do many things in opposition to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. (Acts 26:9)
When we were first introduced to Paul in the book of Acts, he came off as the last person who would ever become a Christian. While he was giving his defense before King Agrippa we are reminded that Paul was fanatical in trying to stop the spreading of the Gospel, even to the point of pursuing Christians in cities outside of Israel (26:11). Regardless of this, Paul ends up writing what constitutes a majority of the New Testament and God calls him to become one of the first missionaries to the Gentiles.
Paul’s life gives light on how powerful the Gospel can be. Paul’s change in attitude towards Christianity was so sudden and shocking that many disciples were initially skeptical if he was actually a believer (9:26). Although Paul had a reputation of being a persecutor of the church, he shows that no one (even the most hardened skeptic) is beyond the saving grace that comes with hearing the Gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (Rom. 1:16).
Although through Christ are our sins forgiven and fully paid for, we are still in a daily struggle fighting our old nature (Rom. 7:15). Seeing ourselves struggle with the same sin over and over again can be discouraging. One of the biggest lies that the devil enjoys planting in our minds and hearts is that we have somehow run out of God’s grace. However, God promises that we are completely delivered from the power of darkness (Col. 1:13) and that nothing can separate us from his love (Rom. 8:38-39).
The Christian life is a marathon, not a sprint. The Holy Spirit is working in our lives daily to help us become more like Jesus, and this act is a lifelong process that will not be completed until Jesus returns. Today, “let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith” (Heb. 12:1-2).