It is no longer I who live
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Ga 2:20.)
(Intro by Phil Jones, All Bible passages are cited from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version, Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016)
Are you so far into darkness that you are beyond hope of a clear, normal, and hopeful life? Has your life been so off-track and filled with so many bad decisions that there is no hope of a do-over? Do you see people that you think to yourself, "this person is certainly a lost cause, there is no hope for them."? Do you feel that without an impossible effort on your part to make yourself worthy of Jesus' attention, you cannot qualify for his grace? The answer is that there is no place and no condition that Jesus will not go to retrieve his sheep. In Psalm 139:7-12, God’s Word tells us there is no place too far from him, and when we turn towards His light, our darkness cannot overcome it (Jn 1:4-5).
If you are in a place that you feel is unreachable, you are hopelessly lost and are doomed to your life of drugs, sexual immorality, crime, unbelief in God, whatever your circumstances, take comfort in the words of Christ himself. In Matthew 9:10-13, Jesus tells us He came to call sinners, not the righteous. He is the great physician who came to heal the sick, not the healthy.
The Apostle, Paul, a zealous persecutor of the church, in his own words in 1 Timothy 1:12-16, tells us he was the foremost of sinners, yet he was chosen by Christ for a ministry and rescued from the depths of violence and hatred. Paul and the other Apostles turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6) with this remarkable good news of the saving work and grace of Jesus Christ.
In this audio link, Pastor Lowell Ivey, recounts his journey from prison, to become a pastor in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. He presents the saving power of God's word through our Lord Jesus Christ, not so much because his story is exceptional (in his words) or any more amazing than any other sinner who is saved, but to give a message of the accessibility of Christ, no matter your circumstance. He points out early in this presentation that every child of God who is rescued by Christ is an amazing story. To consider our utter hopelessness without Christ, makes it the more remarkable that we who have trusted our eternal life to Christ, have confident and certain hope in Him. If you are feeling hopeless, beyond reach, take heart; there is no one out of reach of the amazing, saving power of Christ our Lord.
"Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you." (Ps 139:7–12)
"In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." (Jn 1:4–5.)
"And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when he heard it, he said, 'Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.'” (Mt 9:10–13)
"I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life." (1 Ti 1:12–16)
And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, …) (Ac 17:6.)