When I see people serve vigorously in churches, lead worship, defend Biblical truths (sometimes without grace!), write articles on God, passionate about evangelism or even just meticulously observe religiosities, I tend to categorise them as pretty solid believers. My naïve assumptions were soon challenged while meditating on Luke 4 and 5.
The first 11 verses of Luke 5 give an account of Peter's salvation.
v.8 When Simon Peter saw this he fell at Jesus' knees and said, "Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!"
This change was the result of a little personal miracle in v.6.
Way before I became a Christian, I used to drop tracts into people's houses. That tract dropping (let us not call it evangelism!) helped me fake a goody-two-shoes persona, when in reality I did not even know my need for a Saviour. It was a personal and rather low-key (compared to Peter's) encounter with the Holy Spirit that opened my eyes to the mystery of grace.
Work in Progress
I remember the day I was baptised. I thought I will never sin again, let alone face temptations...to my dismay, the moment I left the church, I lied!
Peter was much the same. Even though he was by Jesus' side, witnessed the transfiguration, confessed that He was the Messiah - he did not have the plans of God in mind, he impulsively cut off a man's ear and even denied Jesus three times.
I struggled to grasp that Jesus' blood paid it all - past, present and future. Now that does not give us a license to sin, but a license to be freed from the clutches and condemnation of sin. Both Judas and Peter failed Jesus, and no doubt they were both broken by guilt. The difference between a by-name-Christian and a born-again-Christian is in how they respond to this guilt; Peter let the guilt move him to a state of repentance, while Judas sadly let it condemn and kill him. Our human selves are incapable of repenting, much like salvation, this too is the work of the Holy Spirit.
Friend, Jesus' blood has made us perfect forever, but is making us holy as we journey through this fallen world. (Hebrew 10:14)
Despite his failings and even his denying, Jesus destined Peter to be a history maker - it was imperfect Peter who was chosen to be the 'rock on which [Jesus] will build [His] church'
Isn't it wonderful that God didn't give up on Peter because he was impulsive!
Isn't it amazing that God did not disqualify Peter from serving Him because of his lack of qualifications!
We all have one assignment: to tell the world about Jesus. God opens doors of opportunities for us to fulfil this assignment; when we take a step of faith, the Holy Spirit takes control (Luke 12:11-12).
Peter, a fisherman, became an apostle who eloquently preached the Gospel to high and lowly alike. Not only were people astonished but many were saved and added to their number.
I don't know about you, but all this reflecting has made me crave some quite-time with our awesome God! Let us get down on our knees and let God transform us into history makers!
Here's one of my all time favourites from Delirious? to set the scene: