“It is hard for you to kick against the goads.”
Testifying in front of King Agrippa, Paul recounted his conversion on the Damascus road and those words from the Lord Jesus himself that told him his resistance was a losing battle. He was a marked man. Almighty God was determined to get him off the road that leads to destruction, and onto the narrow road that leads to life.
That is who our God is. He is continually on the lookout, working on those who are “dead in their trespasses and sins,” seeking to shine the light of his glorious truth into their darkened hearts.
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,
made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions –
it is by grace you have been saved.
In short, salvation is God’s work. At one point in Jesus’ ministry, he was amazed and overwhelmed by the beauty of his Father’s role.
“I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.
All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. “ MATTHEW 11:25-27
In his poem The Hound Of Heaven, Francis Thompson says:
I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
Does this describe your experience, or someone you know? Like the apostle Paul, Jacque Ellul described the hound of heaven in his own experience. In the summer before starting his university studies Ellul had a pre-conversion experience. He was engaged in translating Faust, when…
“All of a sudden I knew myself to be in the presence of something so astounding, so overwhelming, that had entered me to the very core of my being. I jumped on a bicycle and fled. I thought to myself: ‘You have been in the presence of God.’ I started to run for my life from the One who had revealed himself to me. I realized that God had spoken, but I did not want him to have me. I did not want to be controlled by another.”
Three years later, at age 22, Ellul experienced another goad, what he called the second stage of his conversion. He was reading the Bible in the eighth chapter of Romans, and states….
“I was converted with a certain brutality. I saw a perspective beyond history.”
He told his mother,
“I believe in Jesus Christ. I have converted.”
His mother replied (without looking up), “I am not surprised. I have been praying for that every night since you were born.”
We know from Scripture that the god of this age blinds the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
Here is our hope. Our God is a saving God.
The very one who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” is still making his light shine into millions of hearts this very minute. He is continually goading the hearts and minds of our unsaved family members and co-workers and neighbors, longing to awaken them to the light of the knowledge of his glory displayed in the face of Christ. 2 CORINTHIANS 4:4-6
Pray for Junior Jamreonvit as he encourages us this Sunday that our heavenly Father is actively playing a role in the process of salvation. And as we continue our short series intended to awaken us to the potential for salvation this summer in those we meet and encounter, be praying that God will lay on your heart one or two that you could have an influence on, being God’s timely goad in their lives that leads to eternal life.