"For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: And profited in the Jews' religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers." Galatians 1:13,14
Of all the possible people in Jerusalem who could have been won to Christianity, Saul of Tarsus was absolutely the most unlikely.
He was a "Hebrew of the Hebrews". "As touching the law, a Pharisee. "Of the tribe of Benjamin. " "Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. " (Philippians 3) This was so true that even after his conversion, he often had trouble convincing the believers, not only of his Apostleship, but even of his own Christianity.
Today in our country, there is a great divide between those who love our country, and Image by Capt Kodak via Flickralso love their God, and those who practice the religion of Islam. Those of us who are Christians know the Islamic religion to be a false and evil religion. There are those who suggest the more violent tenants of the Islamic belief, Sharia law, threaten the liberties of America. This fear has caused many who truly believe in the Lord Jesus, to express such fear, such anger as one does when what they hold to be dear is threatened. Some have even made the suggestion of sending all Muslims out of the United States.
Having said this, I have to tell you the story of a dear young girl baptized this Sunday. She is Iranian and was born Muslim. After moving to this country, she came to know the Lord and was joyful in identifying herself with Him through baptism.
Had this beautiful young woman not been welcome in this country, she might never have come to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Nor would her fiance, who became a Christian six years before her.
America is here as the land of the free and the brave, but we are here for a purpose, and that purpose is not just to be a beacon for political freedom. You cannot read the writings of our founding fathers and not believe that this country was founded as a place where people could know God. Not any god, but the One True God. We must open not only our arms, but our hearts, that they might have not just freedom politically, but true freedom. . .the freedom that is given by the Lord Jesus when one trusts in Him fully and realizes that their sins have completely been forgiven.
Will some try to hurt us? Yes, and they hurt our Lord, too. Will some try to kill us? Yes, and they tried to kill our Lord, too. Will we will come to the Lord? Yes, and there may even be those, like the Apostle Paul, that we never expected would ever bow the knee and confess with their tongues that Jesus Christ is Lord, who we will see do so.
Our Lord instructed us to be "wise as serpents and harmless as doves." Let us have both His meekness and His strength and pray for His wisdom.