The Gospel of Grace Transforms

The apostle Paul was a classic example of how the grace of God transforms. From his former life of persecuting and relentlessly trying to destroy the church of God (Galatians 1:13), he became a humble man passionately preaching His Word. The gospel of grace was able to transcend his past and transform him. This is because grace comes from God and not from men (Galatians 1: 11-12).

According to Galatians 1: 13-14, Paul’s life under Judaism was filled with traditions. Though there is nothing inherently wrong with traditions, those that are not Biblical can create barriers to the gospel of grace. We need to understand and base our practices on the truth. Mark 7: 6-9 says, “And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: this people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far away from me. But in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’ “Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.” He was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.”

The gospel of grace also says that just like Paul, who had been set apart from his mother’s womb and called him through His grace (Galatians 1: 15), we too are not products of accidents. God already had a plan for us before we were born. Just like Jeremiah, He appointed us while we were still in our mother’s womb. Just like David, we are fearfully and wonderfully made. In short, even our mistakes and failures have already been ordained.

Verse 16 continues that when God transforms us, He not only forgives our past but also elevates us to a different calling. Paul locked up many of the saints in prison, voted for them to die, forced them to blaspheme and pursued them even in foreign cities (Acts 26: 10-11). But when he was journeying to Damascus, he heard a voice saying to him in a Hebrew dialect, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” (Acts 26:12). Then the Lord said to get up on his feet, appointed him to minister and be a witness not only to the things he has seen but also what was yet to come (Acts 26:15). Then he was given a mission: “to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’ So, King Agrippa, I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision” (Acts 26: 18-19).

After God transformed Paul, He gave him a mission. As Christians, we cannot just sit in church every Sunday, thinking that that is how the Christian life is. Our lives as Christians begin when we come to know Jesus and the end result should be to bring glory and honor to God by serving Him. That is God’s design and purpose for our lives.

So three years later, Paul went to Jerusalem and stayed with Cephas, otherwise known as Peter, for fifteen CCF Weekly Bulletin Vol. 22 No. 40 October 3, 2010 CCF Mission: Making Committed Followers of Christ days (Galatians 1:18). And then “went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. I was still unknown by sight to the churches of Judea which were in Christ; but only, they kept hearing, “He who once persecuted us is now preaching the faith which he once tried to destroy.” And they were glorifying God because of me” (Galatians 1: 21-24). Then he went back to his hometown in Syria and Cilicia and shared the good news. As a result, he glorified God.

The grace of God also transforms through problems and failures in order to wake us up and help us learn from the experience. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:8-10, “and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also. For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.”

However, change from the truth and the gospel of God happens only when you respond to it in the right way. Until you surrender to the grace of God, this will never impact your life. So for some who are in the wrong path and heading in the wrong direction, you need to go back to the truth, read God’s Words and surrender to His calling. Then His grace will transform your life.

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