According to USA Today, Lewis seems to be implying that God wouldn’t have used him for His glory had he not been innocent of committing murder. Lewis, who was involved in a double murder case from a Super Bowl party he attended in Atlanta in 2000, was asked what he would like to tell the victims’ families.
He said God has never made a mistake. “That’s just who He is. You see? And if our system… this is the sad thing about our system… if our system took the time to really investigate what happened 13 years ago, maybe they would have got to the bottom line truth.”
“If you knew… if you really knew… the way God works… He don’t use people who commit anything like that for His glory,” Lewis said in a taped interview aired during the CBS Super Bowl pre-game show.
Lewis’ comments about God not using a murderer for his glory brought to mind a notable individual who persecuted and murdered innocent men and women, committing atrocious acts of violence against Christians. This individual, however, had a transforming encounter with God who ultimately used this man as an extraordinary example of God’s saving grace, demonstrated in the life of the Apostle Paul.
Piper suggested that God used Paul as an illustration of the life-transforming power of God to touch and change lives.
"Why? Why do it this way? Why choose him before birth to be an apostle? Then let him sink into wicked and violent opposition to Christ? And then save him dramatically and decisively on the Damascus road?"
Because God wanted to encourage those who thought they were "too sinful" to have hope and also put the perfect patience of Christ on display – two explanations that were explicitly stated in the Bible.
God also wanted to show the world that he saved "hardened haters of Christ" like Paul who previously murdered Christians, and show that he permitted his "much-loved elect to sink into flagrant wickedness."
"God did it this way ... to show a powerless, persecuted, marginalized church that they can triumph by the supernatural conversion of their most powerful foes," Piper added.
There have been others who have committed horrific crimes, individuals whom God graciously embraced, whose lives were radically altered by the power of God’s love and forgiveness. Though not everyone has committed murder, the scriptures make it clear that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Certainly, Paul is a magnificent example of a murderer whose life demonstrated the transformation from “chief of sinners” to one of the “chief apostles,” as a prominent leader in the First Century Church and the author of thirteen books of the New Testament, all for the glory of God.