Bible Reading: Galatians 1:11-24
“But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles” (Galatians 1:15-16)
Paul testifies that the gospel he is proclaiming is the “revelation of Jesus Christ”. He defends this gospel of grace by testifying how such a gospel changed his own life.
Formerly, Paul was a fervent follower of Judaism. He believed that Christianity was blasphemy before God and sought to persecute and even kill members of the church violently. Paul was so very zealous for his religion that he even boasts how he excelled those who were far older than him in his religiosity and seriousness in serving his clouded image of God.
Yet, it is to such — what we would label today — ‘terrorist’ that Christ decided to reveal Himself. On the road to Damascus, Christ appeared before Paul and called him to repentance. From eternity, God had a plan to save a wretched person like Paul and save and use him as an instrument for the gospel among the Gentiles. Without Paul, none of us would have ever heard of the gospel of grace.
Paul’s own story teaches us what grace is. Our gospel is not a gospel of works. Paul himself was a prime example. With diligence, fervency and sincerity, Paul worked hard to seem acceptable to God. Though misguided, he jealously protected the holiness of the God he thought he knew and made sure that no ‘blasphemous teachings’ of Jesus would disrupt his religion. Yet, did Paul ever gain acceptance before God? Can our works grant salvation before God?
On the other hand, when God’s grace came upon Paul, his life was changed dramatically. This was because it was not only his outward life that had been changed; his inner heart had also been changed. God’s grace in Christ does what no man can do: forgive our sins and give us new hearts that can obey God. Without such grace, nobody could ever turn to God.
Yet, with grace, there is no sin too deep or filthy to hinder anyone from being saved. God came to save sinners like Paul, who murdered and tortured and destroyed God’s own church. The Bible presents an open message of repentance for anyone who would humbly seek Christ sinful as they are. Have we personally accepted the gospel of grace?
God’s way of working is beyond our comprehension. God saves people like Paul, and He says sinners like you and me. Let us continue to stand in awe at God’s wondrous ways, whether we are new believers or seasoned Christians. As Paul prays in Ephesians, may we grow in knowing the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints and the immeasurable greatness of his power towards us who believe.
Lord, thank You for a reminder of Your gospel once more. Whether we are new believers or seasoned Christians, Your gospel is new and like a fresh spring of water to us each day. How could You ever save sinners like us? We are wretched and deserving of Your eternal judgement. Yet, You sent Christ Your Son as an atonement for our sins. Help us, God, to grasp more and more of Your infinite love and wisdom each day. In Jesus’ name, amen.