Samson and the Gospel

Samson was a sinner and did not merit any salvation from God. Samson had violated his Nazarite vow, he had indulged in fornication, he drank wine in direct violation of the Nazarite vow in Numbers 6:1-4, he was unequally yoked with his former Philistine wife, and with the harlot of Gaza, and with Delilah (II Corinthians 6:14-18), he disobeyed his parents, and he shared the secret of his strength with Delilah leading to his physical and spiritual captivity. All of these things Samson did and in the end it caused his death in the destruction of the temple of Dagon in Judges 16. Yet his name is listed among the wonderful people of faith in the list that Paul commented to in Hebrews 11. God lists this “sinful” man as a man of faith in Hebrews 11:32. The focus of this study is to discover why this was the case and if it can be applied to any man, woman, child, church, and nation.

Most everyone would consider Samson as a sinner and yet God calls this man a man of faith. Is it possible to reconcile these two extreme positions? The Bible says that all men have fallen into sin except Jesus Himself (Romans 3:23; 5:12). Yet Jesus says that He came to this earth specifically to find all sinners and save them all (John 3:16; I Timothy 2:4; Genesis 12:3). Jesus states that He came to find sinners and to offer them repentance (Matthew 9:12-13; 11:18-19; 21:31-32; Luke 5:27-31). We find all through the Bible that God does not care what kind of person we are when we start but what kind of person we are when He is finished.

All through the Bible we see God seeking out sinners because He has always been the Great Shepherd and when one of His sheep is lost He goes looking for them because He loves them and wants to save them (Genesis 49:24; Numbers 27:17; Psalms 23:1; 80:1; Isaiah 40:11; Ezekiel 34:23; John 10:1-18; Luke 15:1-7; I Peter 2:25; 5:4). This has always been God’s plan from the first lost sheep – Adam down to the last lost sheep that will be saved just before Jesus comes to this earth. God’s love for His children has never changed and never will change. Yet since God has given us all freedom to choose many, even with all of the efforts of God Himself, will find a way to convince themselves that the ways of this earth are better than the ways of God and they will walk the wide way to destruction and not the narrow way to heaven (Matthew 7:13-14).

God is offended by our sins but even the greatest of sinners is still precious in His eyes. The greatness of our sins does not stop God from offering salvation to them. He had His arms open wide to accept Adam and Eve back who sinned in the purity of Eden (Genesis 3:15-21). He went looking for Cain for being the first murderer but Cain refused His offers of salvation. God went looking for Enoch and Enoch was so thrilled with God that he walked right into heaven with God and never saw death (Hebrews 11:5). God worked with all of the fathers of the church and did wonderful things for them even in spite of their many sins. God even allowed the harlot Rahab to be part of His own lineage (Hebrews 11:31; Matthew 1:5). God allowed the whole tribe of the Gibeonites to come into the nation of Israel even though they lied about their background (Joshua 9-10). God even came to find Manasseh the wicked son of Hezekiah. This man did terrible evils in Israel and brought the wrath of God down upon the nation who chose to follow Manasseh’s deeds of evil (II Kings 21:1-18; II Kings 24:1-4; Jeremiah 15:4). And yet God still found sufficient grace to heal even this wicked man and brought him to a full surrender to Himself (II Chronicles 33:1-23). God even found grace sufficient to find the cruel Saul who killed many Christians in his hatred against Jesus of Nazareth (Acts 26:10-11). Yet Jesus Himself went looking for this lost sheep and met him on the road to Damascus and when confronted with the reality of God this hateful man was fully converted to Christ (Acts 9) and was turned from his wicked ways to become the Apostle to the Gentiles and spent his life ministering to God’s people.

God has always worked in the lives of His children. He has always been seeking them out to offer them healing from wounds of sin. His goal is to bring light to the minds of all of His children, to remind them of their heritage as sons and daughters of God. God holds out these precious gifts to any and all sinners and if they choose to they can have the gift of salvation and if they choose not to they can have the rewards of Pharaoh who chose to harden his hearts against the revealed will of God who gave him the opportunity of seeing the power of God displayed in the plagues and in the opening of the Red Sea. But because of his lack of faith, and his refusal to accept the offers of salvation he died in the Red Sea because he refused God to his own hurt (Exodus 14).

God understands the power of sin in the life and He knew that only supernatural power could give deliverance to mankind. This supernatural power to save can only be received by faith in the power of God and the power of His love to change human hearts – this is the gospel that He gave to all of His people throughout history for where there is sin, disease, and death there is the power of God to save, restore, heal, and bless. He revealed His love to Adam, offered salvation through Noah and the Ark, told how He would bless all families through the seed of Abraham, gave the gift of the gospel through Abraham and Israel (Galatians 3:8 and Hebrews 3:7-4:2) to share with all mankind who wanted to be saved from sin. God even gave specific steps to save the people from sin in Ezekiel 36 and that nation who brought disrepute upon God in everything they did will eventually sanctify the name of God because of His great power and grace (Zechariah 3:1-8 and Revelation 14:1-12).

Samson knew of the power of God and he displayed it in the supernatural strength God had given him. Yet Samson was so self-focused that he forgot that God also wants us to walk with Him and to display His love and grace in our lives. Samson was sort of the example of a lukewarm Christian in that he knew of the promises of God told to his own parents, and he saw the power of God displayed in his life. But the things of the world held a powerful grip on his heart and he eventually lowered himself to the point that he was willing to sacrifice his relationship with God to have a relationship with Delilah. When Samson told of his covenant relationship with God to God’s enemy then he lost the connection and when he found himself in prison then he remembered that not only is God all powerful but that he is all merciful as well. Then Samson could clearly and fully cast himself on the mercy and merits of the Redeemer. Then Samson became strong because he was fully dependent upon Jesus the Christ of Israel (I Corinthians 10:1-4). When he accepted that he was a sinner, like the lowly Philistine, then he could accept his own need for salvation. When the Great Shepherd came looking for Samson in the prison He found a sinner who wanted what God had to offer. Once the covenant relationship was restored to Samson then God could guide him and use him one last time to bring honor and glory to the name of Jehovah(Ezekiel 36:23) – the pre-incarnated Jesus of Nazareth (Exodus 3:1-14; John 8:56-58). Then Samson fully displayed the power of God to take a sinner and make him into a saint (Zechariah 3:1-8) Samson became a man wondered at, in that God could take a sinner and reveal Jesus through him. This is the most powerful thing that God has ever done in the universe – to take a rebel and turn him into a loving saint. May each one of us see this wondrous truth in the Bible and take that opportunity to choose to have it done to us. This is my prayer, and Samson’ prayer as well.