What do you do when someone is seeking to undermine your work and turn truth into lies, and at the same time undermine your credibility, and more importantly the veracity of the Word of God?
Paul the Apostle is writing to the Christian Church in Galatia and these disciples of Jesus, whom he knew well, had been on the receiving end of false teachers.
The critics or compromisers or legalists were also having a go at the integrity of Paul. Here he is in this letter of six Chapters as we have it in the New Testament, defending what so needed to be defended.
There are times when that has to happen today and today it is sorely needed in many areas of faith.
Paul had been a nasty man. He had attempted to wipe out the Church of Jesus Christ, but Jesus Christ had changed all that following that confrontation just outside the city of Damascus, and we have the thrilling details three times in the book of Acts.
From then on Paul led a most fulfilled life serving Almighty God, all over the Middle East, and although it was thrilling and exciting, and exceedingly costly at times, he remained faithful to the call of God upon his life just as many had done previously and as man do in these present times – again, they pay a high price, in various places, around our ‘persecuting world’.
It is just as thrilling and exciting today to meet the risen and living Lord Jesus Christ and what an adventure life is when one seeks to follow Him wherever He leads and guides.
If you want excitement and adventure and persecution, then become a follower of Jesus Christ, totally and fully. It can be quite costly too depending upon where you live and serve.
Paul used to consider what men thought of him, but no longer. He used to be concerned about his reputation. But now his aim is to serve Jesus Christ.
Paul met a Man he thought was dead! And he was brought into the Kingdom of light and began right away to preach to those who were in the kingdom of darkness.
One thing that is so encouraging here is – that it does not matter what you were – it is what you are that is vital, and what you can become in Christ.
In Chapter 1 of the letter to the Galatians in verses 13 and 14, Paul tells us what used to motivate him, until he met Jesus.
What is it that truly motivates and inspires you?
Is there one word which summarises all that? PRIDE!
The false gospel allows you to keep your pride – what you have done – what you think – what you have been – what you consider you have achieved.
We read in verse 15 – But God intervened, and set me apart, and called me by His Grace, and was pleased to reveal Jesus to me, and for a purpose – so that I might preach Him. That is powerful writing.
To begin with he did not consult any man. He went off into Arabia, into the wilderness, reading his Old Testament in the light of his experience of Jesus Christ – isolated in God’s Bible School.
This man used to hunt Christians. He was violent. Now, he is talking about his sins – those sins which were forgiven. People would be afraid of Paul. He put believers in prison.
Paul had no intention of becoming a Christian – a disciple of Jesus Christ – but God intervened.
Jesus met him and confronted him and transformed him.
God had a plan for his life, just as God has a plan for our lives.
Had God not radically changed this man, there is no way he could have been changed.
That is really the testimony of each of us!
“Loving Father, as we read Your Word and pray, change and transform us; strengthen us in these critical times, and increase our faith in Jesus.” Amen.
What is your testimony? Share it. Let people know if it is real but do it graciously and tenderly and lovingly.
Sandy Shaw is Pastor of Nairn Christian Fellowship, Chaplain at Inverness Prison, and Nairn Academy, and serves on The Children’s Panel in Scotland, and has traveled extensively over these past years teaching, speaking, in America, Canada, South Africa, Australia, making 12 visits to Israel conducting Tours and Pilgrimages, and most recently in Uganda and Kenya, ministering at Pastors and Leaders Seminars, in the poor areas surrounding Kampala, Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu.
He broadcasts regularly on WSHO radio out of New Orleans, and writes a weekly commentary at http://www.studylight.org entitled “Word from Scotland” on various biblical themes, as well as a weekly newspaper column.
His M.A. and B.D. degrees are from The University of Edinburgh, and he continues to run and exercise regularly to maintain a level of physical fitness.
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