Then they dragged him out of the city and began to stone him; and the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul.” vs. 58Acts 7:55-58
Paul was very open about his past, that he had in fact been involved in the persecution of the followers of Jesus. In his letter to the Galatians he writes that he violently persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it, not out of hate, but because he was zealous for the law. Luke provides a snapshot of one of his most vicious attacks, the stoning of Stephen, one of seven deacons who had been appointed to serve in the Jerusalem faith community. In conformity with the law of Moses, Stephen, accused of blasphemy, was dragged outside the city gates, and his accusers were invited to cast the first stones, having first handed over their coats to Saul (Paul’s Hebrew name). It’s unlikely that Paul ever forgot the sight of the rocks crushing Stephen’s head, and we may wonder if ever felt guilt in later years. In his own testimony he implies that he did not–in his estimation the amazing grace of God meant the forgiveness of all his sins. Some have a tough time believing that God’s grace can cover such horrendous deeds, even when the perpetrators have asked to be forgiven. But Paul taught that all sins, even the most horrible acts, have been wiped away in Christ Jesus. And his teachings have carried the day!
Thought for the Day: Can someone like Paul ever be trusted again?