Focal Passage: Acts 26:9-20
The name Jeffrey Dahmer still brings a shudder to many people. Dahmer was a serial killer in the Milwaukee area, responsible for the death of 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991. His crimes were too unspeakable to recount here. What is noteworthy, however, is what happened shortly after his trial and imprisonment. Dahmer requested a Bible prior to his incarceration, and just two years after his trial concluded, he professed faith in Christ and was baptized. Just six months later, he was beaten to death by fellow inmates.
The reaction of many Christians to the news that Dahmer had made a commitment to Jesus Christ was disbelief.
I can recall hearing people question the legitimacy of his conversion and some going so far as to suggest that God could not (and would not) forgive someone like him. For those of us who are committed to the gospel of Jesus Christ, such an attitude must not be allowed to take hold.
The testimony of the Apostle Paul reminds us that there is no one beyond the grace of God. Indeed, Paul’s testimony is not unlike that of Dahmer. While he was not a serial killer, per se, Paul admits to having a hatred of Christ followers that resulted in his all out effort to destroy them (Acts 26:9-11).
We know that he oversaw the killing of Stephen (Acts 8:1) and that he was on his way to do harm to believers in Damascus when he was converted (Acts 9:1-3).
The Apostle Paul’s conversion was so shocking that Ananias, the believer the Lord called upon to minister to Paul, was reluctant to believe it (Acts 9:13-14).
Only the Lord knows what happened in the heart and life of Jeffrey Dahmer. Did he repent and trust in Christ alone for his salvation? Only God knows for sure.
But, the story of the Apostle Paul reminds me that there is no one beyond the grace of God. That, after all, is what makes it grace. And, come to think of it, grace is exactly what you and I need too.