Last time Paul explained that he didn’t receive the Gospel of Christ from men, but instead from God. Apparently the Judaizers had questioned Paul’s authority or put doubt in the minds of the new believers as to Paul’s authority and his ability to deliver God’s word to them. We briefly discussed how Paul had persecuted the church before God saved him. Today we continue to look at how God revealed himself to Paul and changed him forever.
Has God revealed himself in you?
14 And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.
15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace,
16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:
So Paul in verse 13 explained how he persecuted the church before God saved him and changed his direction. Now Paul explains to the new believers and the Judaizers in Galatia that he was high up in the Jewish ranks. In other words he not only knew the law but was above and beyond the most knowledgeable people. He was also very zealous concerning the rituals, feasts and traditions of the Jews. In other words he is telling the Judaizers that he knows probably more than they do about being Jewish, Jewish law and history.
But then in verse 15 Paul said “But when it pleased God, God called Paul by His grace”. Paul thought he knew God, but he didn’t. Paul thought he was on the right side, but he wasn’t. Paul thought he was doing all the right things, but he wasn’t. Paul wasn’t looking for Jesus, but when it pleased Jesus he showed up and saved Paul by his grace. Jesus didn’t save Paul because of anything he was doing. On the contrary. Paul was against Jesus, and against the church, yet God saved him anyway.
God had a purpose for Paul. Paul was part of a religious sect called the Pharisees. The word Pharisee means separate. Now after being saved by Jesus, Paul belonged to Jesus and was set apart for him. We call this positional sanctification. It simply means when you got saved you were set apart for God’s purpose and you belong to him.
In verse 16 Paul said that God saved him to reveal his Son in Paul. In other words God saved Paul so that he could know Jesus but just as important that others would know Jesus through Paul. I think many Christians miss this point. Jesus saved us not only to keep us from hell, but he saved us so that others could know him through us. God wants to live through us. The fruit of the Spirit should show in our life. Let’s read Galatians 5:22-23
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Notice what Paul was saved for in particular, to preach Jesus amongst the heather, or to the gentiles. In some respects we have been called to do the same thing. We might not be preachers, but we should be telling others about Jesus. But we aren’t just to tell them, but we are to live a life before them that shows that Jesus is living in us.
I think one of the big lessons is that you really don’t know who God will save, so don’t try to figure it out. Just tell everyone about Jesus. Paul was the least likely person to talk to about Jesus. As a matter of fact, he might have had you killed if you went up to him and told Paul the gospel. Paul knew his reputation before he got saved. So did others. The fact is though God still saved him. God changed his reputation. God saved you by grace and not because of whom or what you are. God hopefully changed your reputation. God will do the same for others.
So the questions we should ask ourselves today are:
Has God revealed himself to you?
Have you been saved?
If so, has anyone noticed?
In other words, has God revealed himself in and through you?