lThe Apostle Paul addresses the Galatians in a life-and-death argument. Through this argument he encourages the Galatians to seek authentic relationship with the Son of the Living God. This argument was written c.48 AD and portrays living in Christ vs living without Him. What I hope to reveal through these notes is how powerful one simple conversion is to the Body of Christ!
There are three main points that are essential in Galatians chapter one:
- Paul Violently Persecuted Christians. (v.13).
- Christ Reveals Himself to Paul. (v.14).
- Paul Leads Millions to Christ. (v.15).
Now these three points are in fact chronological in significance, and I believe emphasize true depth.
If we are to think Christ revealing Himself to Paul wasn’t strategic—then we, as the whole Body of Christ, are fooled. Christ converting Paul was done for two reasons. The first was to reach Paul for Paul, and the second was to reach Paul for millions. (Factually this number is probably in the billions column).
In verse 14, Paul explains that by intellectual standards he far surpassed the Jews in his age group. In other words, Paul was the triple PhD among his peers. What better way does Christ operate than to reveal Himself to someone who would take it seriously? No better way! Now I’m not saying that Christ does this to the ‘select’ because that’s ridiculous. What I am arguing is that Christ is strategic in revealing His face.
The unfolding of a Christ encounter, as dramatic as it was to Paul, still happens today. Seeing the image of the invisible God (Col1:15), before knowing the image of the invisible God (Act9:1), is blinding (Acts9:8). Yes, the image of the invisible God is Jesus Christ. Christ was revealed to Paul through a ‘flash of light from heaven surrounding him.’ Through this flashing, Paul dropped to his knees in awe. It was through this that Jesus spoke with clarity saying, ‘I am the one you are persecuting, now I’m going to tell you where to go.’ (Acts9:5). Later Paul ends up writing most of the Bible as the Lord spoke to him.
- Paul Violently Persecuted Christians.
“You heard about the way I once lived when I followed the Jewish religion. You heard how I violently persecuted God’s church and tried to destroy it.”- (Gal.1:13).
Everyone by this point knows the dramatic encounter that Paul had with Christ. From Acts chapter 8 to Acts chapter 9—there is a shift. It was Christ revealing Himself to Paul through heavenly lights and His clear voice that Paul gave his life to Christ. The Galatians know that Paul, who once persecuted was now professing. Instead of persecuting Christians, he shifted his ministry into professing Christ.
Christ gave far more knowledge and insight to Paul through persecution than his Jewish background could have given him. What do I mean by this? Well, it was through Paul persecuting, then shifting his paradigm, that he became the persecuted. This is how ministry tends to unfold. The very thing we advocate for becomes what we are persecuted for. Now this is great joy to the believer because persecution brings refinement! It is through professing Jesus Christ as Lord, and being persecuted because of it, that faith becomes precious.
- Christ Reveals Himself to Paul.
“You also heard how I was far ahead of other Jews in my age group in following the Jewish religion. I had become that fanatical for the traditions of my ancestors” –(Gal.1:14).
Before Paul was Paul, Paul was Saul. Just as the disciples were given new names to replace their identity, Christ bestowed this same gift to Paul. Its through this new life, transformed heart, that Christ gives us a new name known by Him. As Paul explains to the Galatians, he gives background to his old life in order to help make sense of his new life.
Being a ‘fanatical’ in the Jewish sense meant following every single mandate of Jewish law. Now Jesus coming to live, and die, on the cross was to fulfill the law through Him. This was not an abolishing of the law but a fulfillment of the law of Moses. God aligned both heaven and earth though sending His Son Jesus to both live AND conquer death. The fulfillment of the Law of Moses was done through Jesus Christ.
- Paul Leads Millions to Christ.
“But God, who appointed me before I was born and who called me by His kindness was pleased to show me His Son. He did this so that I would tell people who are not Jewish that His Son is the Good News”- (Gal.1:15-16).
Paul explains that it was His kindness that drew him into redemption. It was not the hard-pressed answer of ‘give your life to me.’ It was the ‘I’m showing you who I am’ that drew Paul into salvation. Paul was saved through a dramatic encounter when the heavens opened. He was surrounded by ‘flashing lights’ when he heard the voice of the Lord cry out to him. THIS is what shifts the heavenly when one conversion saves millions.
One conversion saves millions. What do I mean by this? Having one person come to accept Christ as Lord and Savior is beautiful. This in and of itself is precious. Now having that one soul then convert ten people, then those ten convert ten others, etc. This is strategic salvation. Paul being converted was a strategic move that Christ did after one man came to meet Him. Stephen, who was martyred in Rome for his faith, died with Saul’s approval. It says in Acts that Saul (Paul) was left with the robes of the one who was sacrificed by his orders. And just one chapter later, Christ reveals Himself to Paul, leading him to salvation.
Destiny Rose Nielsen.