Links Daily Devotional

An Example of Grace

They were only hearing it said, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” And they glorified God because of me. (Galatians 1:23-24, ESV)

In his letter to the churches he planted and started in the region of Galatia, the apostle Paul included rebuke and correction, sounding a lot like your swing coach when you haven’t practiced between lessons. Why did Paul get so upset with these churches? They had begun to stray from the idea that salvation comes solely through grace by faith, not by works or the law. Judaizers (men who preached a false gospel, saying that salvation comes from grace plus works of the Law) had penetrated the area and their ideas and thoughts had crept into the church.

Paul loved this church and was therefore upset that they had gotten away from the one true Gospel of Jesus Christ. To temper his frustration, though, he included some strong reminders of God’s grace and how it calls us to faith.

Before Paul was saved as a believer, he was a lead persecutor of the church of God’s people. Paul’s amazing conversion (told in Acts 9) is proof enough of God’s grace, mercy, and love.

Lay out the situation and the events in your mind. There is a terrible man named Saul who is killing many, many believers for their faith. He is persecuting the followers of Jesus, those who identify in Christ by grace through faith. His reputation is spreading around the region and many are afraid of this ruthless man (rightfully so). Suddenly, in his sovereign plan, God grabbed this brutal man out of darkness and transformed him into one of the greatest men in Christian history. Ultimately, Paul goes on and writes half of the New Testament and dies for his faith in God.

How would you react if you were the men who encountered Paul shortly after his conversion? I would be scared and worried to be around him, skeptical that he might be faking this new found hope in Christ. But, what does this prove of God? He, our Savior, must work in the hearts of all people, even those already in Christ, to trust and believe the true Gospel when preached and heard. God had to act in the hearts of these people who came into contact with Paul after he was converted. They had little reason to believe that Paul was now a true brother in Christ.

What is the main point of today’s passage? We are to be an example of Christ and what he has done in our life, and leave the results up to God.

All Paul could do was preach Christ and live for him who saved his life. He couldn’t worry about what people were going to think of him after his conversion. We are to exemplify the work that Christ has done in our life, preach the Gospel to all people, and rest in Christ who changes people’s hearts. May our prayer as believers be that our example will be Christlike, that our actions, words, and thoughts would reflect the Gospel, and that those who meet us ultimately glorify God because of what they hear and see in us. May we find encouragement, reassurance and hope in our God and preach him who saved our souls.

Rosson Anderson
September 30, 2014
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