Reflections on Acts 9:10-19
Someone’s past does not disqualify one from salvation or service. Do you agree with that statement? Well, we probably all agree with that in theory, but in practice we are quick to think or even say, “I have heard about him/her. I doubt he/she will ever come to the Lord.” Or, we may think something like, “Sure, you can join the church, but you will never be allowed to do this/that.”
Many of us think we have it all figured out. Maybe we have served the Lord for years and have forgotten how immature or sinful we were in our early years as Christians. Maybe we were raised in the church and have not committed the “major” or open sins that get so much negative attention. Let me remind you that none of us are perfect. Even those of us who have been raised in church and have not committed publicly shameful deeds, do we think that we are better than others? What if the sins of your heart were exposed? What if the sins under your roof, behind closed doors were exposed? Would you be so innocent anymore? I think not.
The truth is, we all have a past. We all have had struggles with sin and continue to fight the “flesh,” that is, the old, sinful nature. We all are in need of a savior, the Savior, Jesus Christ. Let me encourage you to not only affirm that first sentence in theory but also in practice: Someone’s past does not disqualify one from salvation or service. How can we believe this? The Father made Christ, who knew no sin, to be sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. Our past is done away with when we commit to God by faith in Jesus Christ. He forgives us our sins and removes them from our account.
So then, when we consider this passage of Scripture in Acts 9. Many of us think of others in the same way that Ananias’ first reacted to an urging to minister to Saul of Tarsus, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem.” What Ananias said was true. His fear was legitimate. But that did not stop the Lord from saving Saul and using Ananias as an evangelistic tool to minister to him. The Lord told Ananias to “Go.” Saul’s horrific sins of his past would not haunt him in the future; they would not keep the Lord from saving him or calling him into His service. The Lord said “Go,” and Ananias “Went.” When we sense the urging of the Lord to minister to someone, we, too, should not reject them based on their appearance or their past. Instead, we should minister to them and make them disciples. The Lord will extend the offer of salvation to them in the Gospel message, and, if they respond with faith, the Lord will call them into His service. He did the same for you and for me, why not any other person?