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Redemption from a Checkered Past

Redemption from a Checkered Past

A message from Pastor James Exline

Are you an “unlikely”? If you have a “checkered past,” if you’ve done things you’re ashamed of, if you think that there is no way God would ever use you, then congratulations, you are an “unlikely” and God wants to use you!

Many of you have heard that God has plans for you, that God wants to use you, but then you look at yourself, your past, and begin to develop a laundry list of reasons why God wouldn’t use you. You begin to disqualify yourself.

Even the Spiritual Greats Were Flawed

It’s easy to look at the “spiritual greats” and think that God would use them because we are looking at them through the lens of what God is doing through them, what he is using them to do. This, however, is not an accurate portrait of those “spiritual greats.” This lens leaves out the fact that they are imperfect people being used by a perfect God to accomplish his perfect will and perfect plan. The perfect part of the equation comes from God—not the person God is using—and not from you!

Let’s look at some imperfect people God has used; even a partial list is very interesting. God used a mass murderer, of Christians, nonetheless, (the Apostle Paul, formerly known as Saul) to write over half of the New Testament, start the church, and lead thousands of people to a relationship with Christ. He used a murderer and a stutterer (Moses) to lead his people out of slavery to freedom. He used a man (David) to be king of his people who went on to commit adultery and murder during his reign. Peter, who went on to be a huge part of establishing the church, prior to doing so, denied knowing Jesus. That’s right, the guy God used to establish the church claimed on three separate occasions that he did not even know Jesus!

There is one more example we are going to look at, and this one is from current times. There was a man who had ran from God most of his adult life, who had cussed God out for even having created him. That same man had told his wife that if she ever went to church, he would leave her. He was enslaved to active addiction for years, and along the way did things which many would think had disqualified him from being used by God. He would be first on that list. He would have thought there was no way God would ever use him, after all, just look at the long list of disqualifications!

You Can be Used by God

Some, if not many of you, also have a list of disqualifications, things that you believe are preventing you from being used by God. You look at your past, and come to the conclusion that God will never use you. “You don’t understand,” you might say. “I’ve done…” the list goes on and on, and looking at that list from a human perspective, you may be justified in thinking that God will never use you. The good news, however, is that God does not look at you or your past from a human perspective. He looks at it through the redeeming, saving, and salvaging eyes of perfect love, through the eyes of a savior who died for you to become the very righteousness of God! 2 Corinthians 5.21 says, “For our sake he (God) made him (Jesus) to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

God isn’t looking for perfect people to use. He is looking for imperfect people whom he makes perfect through Jesus and then desires to use. So you’re not perfect, congratulations, you qualify! By the way, that guy who had run from God most of his adult life, who told his wife he would leave her if she went to church, that guy is me. That guy is now a pastor at a treatment center! See—God wasn’t looking for a perfect person to do what he is using me to do. He was looking for an imperfect man who has been made perfect in Christ, who was and is willing to be used by God for whatever God wants to use him for!

That’s where the good news comes in for you. If you are imperfect, if you have a “checkered past”, and if you are willing to allow God to use you to accomplish his plans through you, then you qualify! God wants to use you!

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