Paul: Judaism to Jesus

church-of-christA person’s concept of Christ often undergoes a dramatic change from the first time he thinks about Him to the time he trusts Him as Savior.  This was the case with the Apostle Paul.  He started his life as Saul of Tarsus and sought out Christians with a raging hatred similar to that of mad dog infected with rabies. When Saul first heard of the “hope of the resurrection,” it sounded like empty rhetoric and a powerless promise.  After he encountered Jesus on the Damascus road, he experienced the transforming power of Christ’s salvation and his name was changed to Paul.

By developing a dynamic relationship with God, Paul came to know Him in several dimensions.  When he wrote to the Hebrews, Paul said God “is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”   Paul also spoke of this in 2 Timothy 4:

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time for my departure is close.  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  There is reserved for me in the future the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me, but to all those who have loved His appearing.

To know God as a rewarder, you must first know Him as a redrawer.  Paul had been the rising star of Judaism, but he walked away from the Law to a life of grace:

As far as keeping the Law is concerned I was a Pharisee, and you can judge my enthusiasm for the Jewish faith by my active persecution of the Church. As far as the Law’s righteousness is concerned, I don’t think anyone could have found fault with me. Yet every advantage that I had gained I considered lost for Christ’s sake . . . I considered it useless rubbish compared with being able to win Christ. God has given me that genuine righteousness which comes from faith in Christ. How changed are my ambitions!

For whom have you livedDevil or Jesus?  You will be known for either the good way you live or evil will define you.

When you meet the Gateman will you be wearing his nametag?    If so, you just might hear Him say: “You have fought the good fight; you have finished the race; and you have kept the faith.”

 

Note:  I enjoy playing with the English language.  Go back and find the single words I have italicized in a couple of sentences.  Forwards and backwards, what do you see?

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