Day 2

Paul’s Testimony

from the 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus reading plan

1 Timothy 1:12-20, Acts 8:1-3, Acts 9:1-22

Christians love dramatic testimonies. We’ve all been moved by brothers and sisters who tell stories of unfathomable sin and brokenness before coming to Christ. Many of these narratives move in excruciating detail through the kind of pain and wickedness some of us have only heard about second-hand. But the implication of their testimonies is clear: “If God can save someone like me, He can save you, too.”

But what about brothers and sisters who seem to have “boring” testimonies? What about those who grew up in a home where their parents loved them and told them about Jesus from the day of their birth? Almost with a sense of shame at the simplicity of it, they confess they knew they needed to be saved when they were young, trusted in Jesus, and have followed Him since. They might say they don’t even remember life before becoming a Christian. Compared to the stories of fights, drugs, and prison, these testimonies might seem lackluster.

Writing in the early 1700s to give testimony to the amazing work of revival happening in his town, Jonathan Edwards spoke about two women with very different testimonies. One was a “company-keeper,” an 18th-century term for living a notorious life, and the other a four-year-old girl named Phoebe. Both came to see their desperate need for Christ and were gloriously saved. Edwards used their examples to make a simple point: No matter what a person’s background may be, we all need grace.

Paul makes this point through the example of his own testimony in 1 Timothy chapter 1. He looked back at his life before the Damascus Road, and even though he was a “Pharisee of Pharisees” and a “Hebrew of Hebrews,” he had also been a “blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent” who “acted ignorantly in unbelief.” After meeting Jesus, he looked at his present life and saw himself as someone who could never merit the favor of God because he was “the chief of sinners” (1Tm 1:12-20).

Yet, Paul saw something that was true about God much more clearly than he saw his own sin and unbelief: “The grace of our Lord overflowed” for him, as it does for us all. Paul pictured God’s grace as a mighty river, flowing toward him at a pace so fast and a force so strong that his own sin was no match for it. His sin and his self-righteousness had been overwhelmed “with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus” (1Tm 1:14).

Many days, you will be tempted to think you have been so bad that grace could never reach you. Other days, the temptation will be to believe you’ve been so good that grace is beneath you. Therefore, on each and every day, take a long look toward the cross of Jesus Christ. There, you will remember how desperately you needed grace, and hear the good news that God is glad to freely give it to you.

In the end, every Christian has the same testimony: I need Jesus. He has freely accepted me. His grace is more than enough to sustain me with hope and joy throughout my journey.

Written by Scott Slayton

Post Comments (16)

16 thoughts on "Paul’s Testimony"

  1. Ken Fuller says:

    I do need Jesus! I’m so thankful that His grace has been more than sufficient in my life to carry me over hills and valleys. I have found that there is nowhere in my journeys that He was not there.

  2. David Newsome says:

    I often lament my past accomplishments as much as my failures. I pine for a past where I was more effective in ministry and faith. These have become as much a stumbling block for my current relationship with Jesus as have my past success. I mourn for the loss of a marriage and ministry where God impacted hundreds of youth every year. But God, as so often He is encountered in the Word, is making a way for a different story. God reminds me of His provision daily if I will trust and surrender. He blessed me with a family of three, and soon four, a forever family at my church, and a solid career to provide for our needs and wants. I long for a day when I can look on my past as Paul and see it as a strength to die daily. I know my story and I know God wants me to use it. I wonder how often Paul dealt with doubts because of his past.

  3. Jesse PT says:

    I know for me my testimony is not like anyone else. I came from a story like Paul’s. I say to some that it takes a lot of extra grace for me to see how clearly God has chosen me. The hardest part for me in my testimony was understanding why God chose me?
    I know many have struggled with this question. I now today am thankful and trust that my life is not my own. And I chose not to disagree with what God has for me at all.

  4. Kevin says:

    Day 2: Man this is good stuff. The reminder of how desperately I need the grace of God is spot on. There’s days I feel like the lowest of the low. And days I feel like I’m doing pretty good and grace is beneath me. But man oh man do I need his love and grace every single day. I’m thankful for a God that is so consistent when I am not.

  5. Ray says:

    How different the Bible would be without the stories of the men and women who failed. It is in those failures that I find hope, that I learn to get up when I’ve been knocked down, and to remember that God knew me – all of me – my past and future, my successes and failures before I was even born. And despite all of this, He still chose me, He can still use me, Even when I can’t see how.

  6. Kyle says:

    I can relate to those who feel as though their testimony is boring. So much so, that today I struggle to feel the newness of life that a young believer feels. It’s been a struggle for a long time, as I’ve grown up in church, the flame burning within me seems to only flicker at times. I desire for the flame to burn brighter, but am uncertain how to make that happen.

  7. Zach says:

    To me, what was most inspiring is what I read in Acts 9:15-16, where the Lord speaks to Ananias saying “Go, this man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name”. It’s crazy that God created this calling for Paul before he was a Christian!! He had him set apart for this very purpose: to minister to Gentiles. And later in Paul’s life he acknowledges his specific calling to the Gentiles, knowing that is his purpose. He doesn’t try to do more or less. He suffers greatly as it says he will in verse 16. God knew everything from the beginning. Isn’t that comforting for our own lives??? God has a purpose for every one of us, before we even come to Him!!! —really, before we were even born!!He has a calling specifically for us, a specific purpose to fulfill; ultimately to further the name of the Lord. And Paul went through incredible suffering. God may have difficult times for us, but we must be joyful to suffer for God, knowing he has a sovereign plan for each and every one of us: His children.

  8. Chase E. Baker says:

    His grace overflowed.
    It reminds me of when Paul wrote, “And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything that you need, you may excel in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8).
    God made every grace overflow to me when he forgave me of my sins, and gave me his righteousness and made me pure. Paul shared his past in this testimony and it shined a light on God’s amazing, redeeming grace. No matter what, we do all have the same testimony. No matter if you were saved when you’re 4 or 34, you realized you needed Jesus.
    I don’t just want Jesus. Heck, sometimes I really don’t even want Jesus (though that has everything to do with me/my heart and nothing to do with the amazing/loving Lord of creation who has set me free from bondage and death).
    I need Jesus. That’s why I have grace. Because I have an inescapable need that Jesus freely filled.

  9. Eric Johnson says:

    How crazy it must have seemed to Ananias! Saul was obviously well known…in so many bad ways. But God needed Ananias to follow through. God gives us all a choice. What if Ananias has ignored God’s direction? What if we ignore God’s direction? Look at the impact fulfilling God’s calling has on others.
    There are people like Saul everywhere. We likely encounter them every day. God has prepared them for His message and we need to be ready to delivery it. I’m praying that God uses me to delivery His message to whomever He puts on my path. I tend to feel incapable, “how can I deliver this news in an effective way?” But that’s not for us to worry about. With the Holy Spirit, everything can be carried out.

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