Doubting the Grace of God

By Dr. Ken Matto

(Isa 59:1 KJV) Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:
 
This writing is not going to focus on whether God can save a person, it is going to focus on the fact that the Grace of God does not exclude any of His Elect, no matter what they have done as unsaved people. What triggered the idea for this writing is that I received some e-mails from people and some Christians that I have spoken with who find it extremely hard to believe that David Berkowitz, formerly the Son of Sam, now the Son of Hope, has become saved. Many people have met with him, including myself, and have found his salvation experience to be real. Many people feel that he is faking it and hoping to use “religion” as a way of getting paroled. David was sentenced to life plus three hundred fifty years in prison. He knows he is not getting out of jail but he wishes to serve the Lord who has saved him. Much of his ministry in prison is helping the chaplain set up the chapel and helping with the spiritual affairs of the other men, plus making videos which are designed to minister to the youth. He told me personally, “that sometimes he is happy to get back to his cell because he is so tired at the end of the day.” A brother I know, Rich Delfino, who introduced me to David gave me a good point concerning those Christians who disbelieve that David’s salvation is real. It is a logical point and it bears meditation. “Why would anyone want to fake being a Christian, in a prison, when you are a murderer among other murderers (like minds), plus the prison is full of Muslims. If David was going to fake it, then why didn’t he start in 1978 when he went to prison?” What benefit would he derive from faking it? David was saved in 1987 in Sullivan County Correctional Facility where he is today.
 
The next person that comes to mind is Karla Faye Tucker. She was executed for her crimes on February 3, 1998 in Texas. Before she was executed, she too had become saved and all the skeptics believed that she wanted to use her “religion” to get out of prison. She knew she would not be released but the reason she wanted to live was that she felt she could serve the Lord and help prevent others from a life of crime. This she did for fifteen years before her execution, which would have been plenty of time to evaluate whether she was saved or just faking it.
 
The final person I want to use as an example of the saving Grace of God is a man named Phil Reardon who is serving a fifty five year sentence for murder in Trenton State Prison, with a mandatory serve of 30 years. Phil became a vibrant Christian in prison. He now has a ministry with a monthly news letter called "Inside Perspective."  It is based on Christianity inside the walls of a prison. For those of you who are not from New Jersey, Trenton State Prison is one of the most roughest in the country.
 
Now, I am not writing this to elicit parole sympathy for Christian prisoners, but to raise the reality among Christians and those of other faiths, that God can and does save murderers as well as fornicators and drunks. I am also not downplaying the severity of the crimes of these individuals. They took lives and hurt family and friends of the victims. Murder is a terminal crime in that the victim will never be seen alive again.
 
I believe it is very hypocritical for Christians to rejoice when a drunk is saved but when a murderer is saved, they completely close their eyes to the reality of their salvation experience and tell others to do refute it also. Unfortunately, this is not casting doubt upon the individual, but upon the saving Grace of God. It is also an accusation against God that He is violating His own Scriptures. Whenever, we start making accusations against Christians, we better make sure those accusations have foundation or else we may be making accusations against God. Just because a person is a high profile individual does not mean it will have an effect upon the Grace of God. In fact, when a person is high profile, they are under more scrutiny than any average Christian.
 
The three Christians that I mention above are high profile and God saving them is a testimony to the saving Grace of God and is a witness to the entire world that no one is beyond the saving Grace of God. If God has named a person to be saved from the foundation of the world, He will accomplish that salvation in that person‘s life, no matter what they have done. MY BRETHREN, THIS IS THE ESSENCE OF FORGIVENESS! (Mat 12:31 KJV) Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. This verse needs to be heeded when broaching a subject like this. Jesus said that ALL sin will be forgiven except blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Certainly murder falls within the “All” sin category. Why do we have such a hard time believing that God can save a high profile murderer? I will tell you why, because we believe the biased media over believing God and His Word. The fact that God can and does forgive murderers is well documented in the Bible we so ignorantly neglect. Let us look at a few murderers in the Bible who were recipients of the saving Grace of God.
 
Moses
(Exo 2:12 KJV) And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand.
 
Here is Moses killing an Egyptian, yet God called him meek. (Num 12:3 KJV) (Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.) What could have turned the heart of a murderer into the heart of a meek man? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. Moses was transformed from a murderer into a meek man by the saving Grace of God. Look at his testimony in the following forty years.
 
Manasseh
(2 Ki 21:6 KJV) And he made his son pass through the fire, and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards: he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.
 
Here King Manasseh was so idolatrous that he made his son die in a human sacrifice. The fact that he made his son a human sacrifice means he killed him, even if he was only watching the event. (2 Chr 33:13 KJV) And prayed unto him: and he was entreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD he was God. Then further on we read that Manasseh had prayed unto the Lord and the Lord heard him. God only hears the prayers of His children as the Bible teaches. Manasseh then instituted reforms and cleansed the temple. Now what could cause a man like Manasseh to go from being a murdering idolater to a believing king? Only the saving Grace of God can do a transformation like that.
 
David
(2 Sam 11:15 KJV) And he wrote in the letter, saying, Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die.
 
David had sinned with Bathsheba and in an attempt to hide his sin, he engaged in a conspiracy of murder against Uriah, who was a faithful soldier. Uriah was finally killed and David thought his problems were solved. Until a year later when Nathan the Prophet comes to him and confronts him with his sin. Nathan tells David something very encouraging to a man in his position. (2 Sam 12:13 KJV) And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die. Nathan told David that his sin was already forgiven, yet there was consequences for his act of sin against God. It is the same with the three Christian prisoners I mentioned. Their sins are forgiven but they must pay for their crimes according to the law. Why was David’s sin already forgiven? Simple, because David was named and chosen before the foundation of the world as one of God’s Elect. (Eph 1:4 KJV) According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: The Old Testament Saints were saved the same way we are today, through the Grace of God.
 
Final Thoughts
Have you heard of Charles “Tex” Watson and Susan “Sadie” Atkins? These were two of the followers of Charles Manson who helped with the Tate-LaBianca murders in 1969. Both of these people have become Christians. They are the only two out of the followers of Manson who have become saved. Watson has become a Minister and has a website called “Abounding Love Ministries.” What would make followers of someone like Manson turn around? The saving Grace of God. As Christians, we need to stop believing that God can only save a certain group of people and the others are out of His grasp. David Berkowitz was a serial killer in 1977-78, but now he has been washed clean by the Blood of the Lamb. As Christians, if we send doubting signals to the world about God’s ability to save, then we must also ask if God is able to save us? Remember, the statement of Jesus when He said that all manner of sin will be forgiven except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. As Christians, we must stop standing with Satan’s people and casting shadows of doubt upon God’s Saving Grace. If we are not sure about someone’s salvation, then we need to say that, and not automatically discount it as false. Reserve comment until you are sure. If you are wrong, you will be slandering a Child of God by calling them a child of Satan and you may be found hurting whatever work God is doing in them. (John 7:24 KJV) Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. Make sure you have all the facts. You may sound righteous to a group of friends, but before God, you will be found to be a fool.

(Acts 10:15 KJV) And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.

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