5/30/16 Paul’s Story

Paul continues in his letter to the Galatian churches:  “I wish grace and peace upon you all as given by God the Father of our Messiah, Jesus, and of all who trust in His sacrifice on the cross to save us from the penalty for our sins, and as given by and through Jesus Himself.  Jesus died for us, sacrificing Himself for our sins, in order to grant us safe passage away from this world of darkness, because that is what God, His Father, wants for us.  All glory and honor go to Him forever and ever, Amen!  Now, to business.  I cannot believe that you are already turning away from what I taught you when I was with you!  You are turning your back on Jesus, who called you to Himself and to His Father, and turning instead to false teaching.  Those who proclaim anything other than what I taught you when I was with you are trying to lead you away from the true teaching of Jesus.  If anyone, be it myself, or any other person, or even an angel from Heaven, tries to change Jesus’ message to something it was never meant to be, he is working against God!  I will say it again, so that you do not miss the importance of this statement:  If anyone tries to teach you anything other than the true message of Jesus, he is working against God.  Am I trying to persuade God to come around to my way of thinking?  No, only humans.  Nor am I trying to win popularity with people, because God’s opinion of me is the only one that matters to me.  I am Jesus’ servant, and His alone.  I tell you, my brothers and sisters, the message that I preached to you was not given to me by people.  I did not learn it from anyone here on earth.  It was revealed to me by Jesus our Messiah Himself.  You know who I used to be when I was in Jerusalem.  You have heard that I sought out the Christians with a vengeance, seeking to imprison them and hand them over to the High Priest to be punished.  I wanted to completely obliterate Christianity and the Church.  I was so ambitious in my attempt to be the best Jew possible that I was way ahead of my peers in knowledge of the Jewish laws and traditions and in keeping those laws and traditions.  But God, from the moment I was born, set me apart to do His will.  And when He determined that the time was right, He called me on the road to Damascus, showing me in no uncertain terms that Jesus is His Son, and charging me with the teaching of His message throughout the world, I didn’t go and talk about it with people right away.  I didn’t return to Jerusalem to speak with the apostles.  Instead, I went into the desert of Arabia to pray and receive God’s teaching and His blessing on my work, then I went into Damascus.  Three years later, I went to Jerusalem and stayed with Peter for just over two weeks.  James, Jesus’ brother, was the only other apostle I saw during that time.  And I swear to you before God that I am telling you the truth in everything I write to you here.  After I left Jerusalem, I went to Syria and to Cilicia, and nobody in Judea knew what I looked like.  Only my reputation preceded me, causing people to say in wonder, ‘Is this the same man who was trying to destroy Christianity, now zealously preaching it?’  And because of this, they gave God glory.”

 

Galatians 1:3-24

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