Can God redeem really terrible people? Of course! we say. But when faced with the conversion of, say, a mass murderer or convicted drug trafficker, we turn skeptical. Have these persons really experienced saving faith? What are we to think? This study will explore these questions and examine our attitudes.
Table of Contents
SCRIPTURE: Luke 19:1–10, 23:32–33, 39–43; Acts 7:58–8:1a, 9:1–30
• The Issue
What kind of people do you think find it harder to turn their lives over to the Lord—"nice" people or "bad" people? Why?
Why do Christians tend to disbelieve reports of the conversions of disreputable people?
• The Scriptures
Luke 19:1–10: Zacchaeus was a crooked tax collector. If Zacchaeus had taken your money dishonestly, how would you have felt about his conversion?
Acts 7:58–8:1a and 9:1–30: The New Testament's most notorious convert was Saul of Tarsus—the beloved apostle Paul. As you read his story, put yourself in the place of the disciples and the Christians he had persecuted. How would you have reacted to the news of this man's faith?
• The Application
Sample application questions:
Why is it important not to react to the news of an "impossible" conversion with skepticism?
How can you help nurture new Christians whose very decision to follow Christ seems unbelievable?
ARTICLE FROM CHRISTIANITY TODAY
• Notorious Conversions, by Luis Palau (April 1993, 6 printed pages)
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