A Killer Who Found Hope

by Pastor Ricky Kurth

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The story is told of an innocent man who was accused of killing someone, and was on trial for murder.  The man was innocent, but the case against him was strong, and his brother was afraid he’d be convicted.  So he decided to bribe a seemingly slow-witted man serving on the jury, offering him $10,000 to convince the other jurors that his brother was guilty of manslaughter instead of murder.  Well, it worked, and as he paid the slow-witted man the money, he asked him if it had been difficult to convince the other jurors.  “It sure was,” he replied, “they all thought he was innocent and wanted to let him go!”

As you may know, the Epistle of Titus was written by a killer named Saul of Tarsus, who not only got saved and quit killing people, he became a servant of God and an apostle of Christ:

“Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness” (Titus 1:1).

The first thing we notice about this reformed killer is that after he got saved he preferred to be called Paul.  Now, most killers who change their name do it so they can escape their past and blend in with society.  Back in 1988, a man in England was convicted of killing two young girls and incarcerated.  When they finally released him in 2017, he changed his name.  Of course, his name was Vile Pitchfork, and that’s not an easy name to forget—making it hard to blend in with society!

But Saul didn’t change his name to try to escape his past.  He couldn’t have done so if he had tried.  You see, he was the most notorious persecutor of the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ of his day!  But if he wasn’t trying to hide from his past, why did he start going by a new name?

Well, “Saul” was a Jewish name.  He was named after Israel’s first king.  But when he got saved, the Lord told him, “I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles” (Acts 22:21).  So Saul began to go by his Gentile name (Acts 13:9) to reflect how God had sent him to the Gentiles.

You know, it wouldn’t hurt all of us to examine ourselves to see if everything in our lives reflects the fact that we have been sent by Christ—not to be His apostles, but to be His ambassadors (II Cor. 5:20).  There’s probably no reason to change your name now that you’re saved, but some changes in your conduct might be in order if an examination of your life shows that you could be a little more godly, a little more kind, or a little more patient with others.  Things like that will always reflect well on the One who saved us by His blood, and then sent us forth to represent Him.

Is this something you should pray about?  If so, there’s no time like the present to talk to God about your desire to represent the Lord in a way that will bring more honor to Him.

To the Reader:

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