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Evidence of a Changed Life Through the Gospel

13 For you have heard about my former way of life in Judaism: I intensely persecuted God’s church and tried to destroy it. 14 I advanced in Judaism beyond many contemporaries among my people, because I was extremely zealous for the traditions of my ancestors. 15 But when God, who from my mother’s womb set me apart and called me by his grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son in me, so that I could preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone. 17 I did not go up to Jerusalem to those who had become apostles before me; instead I went to Arabia and came back to Damascus. (Galatians 1:13-17)


As a reminder from where we left off, Paul is being accused by the Judaizers that the gospel message he is preaching is false. The Judaizers were stating that in order to be a true follower of Jesus, one must uphold the Jewish customs found in the law of Moses in addition to following Jesus, a hybrid of faith by works. Unfortunately, many members within the church at Galatia began to follow this teaching and propagated the message to unbelievers. So, Paul begins to refute this false gospel of the Judaizers by giving evidence. From verses 11 to 12, Paul showed that the true gospel message did not come from human origin, but from God.


What follows from verses 13 to 17, is Paul’s own testimony of a transformed life only made possible through the true gospel. If you are following along with our series on the book of Acts, in Acts 8, Paul (formerly Saul) was hunting down believers from neighboring towns to drag them back to Jerusalem to be put into prison. Paul would describe himself as a Pharisee among Pharisees (see Phil. 3:5), upholding the law, stating in verse 14, “I was extremely zealous for the traditions of my ancestors.


Yet, everything changed when the risen Lord Jesus Christ confronted Paul on the road to Damascus in Acts 9:4-5, “Falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul said. “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting,” he replied.” The Lord would call Paul to be His chosen instrument to reach the Gentiles (Acts 9:15-16). After having his sight restored, Paul would spend three years in Damascus and Arabia, praying and walking with the Lord, being equipped during this time directly by God; instead of going to Jerusalem to learn from the apostles.


Paul, a religious zealot who hunted down Christians door to door to imprison them, was radically transformed by the true gospel, the revelation of the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ as the only way of salvation. He went from chief persecutor of the church to chief proclaimer of the name of Jesus. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the only thing that can transform the hearts of fallen man. May we share this truth and see lives transformed just like Paul.



Isaac De Guzman



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