To the churches in Galatia.’ (Galatians 1v1-2)
Okay, today we starts a new series investigating what the Book of Galatians can teach us about how God’s Holy Spirit works in the lives of individuals. In particular the life of Paul who is not your typical convert to Christianity as he initially comes to destroy it.
Those who know the story of Saul’s conversion from henchman seeking out Christians to Apostle of the faith for Jesus will know his conversion was anything but ordinary. That is why he opens in v1 with the words:
‘Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by a man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead.’
Initially, Saul – as he was known then – was sent by the Jewish authorities to round up those who had converted to christianity with orders to put them into prison with the possibility of death (as with the stoning of Stephen where Saul held their cloak). However, it was months later, as Saul approached Damascus to arrest more followers of the (Christian) Way, that a Light – bright as the sun – causes him to fall to the ground and the accompanying voice questioned Him. “Saul! Saul! why do you persecute me?’
Confused, Saul asks ‘Who are you Lord’ and the Light replied, ‘I am Jesus whom you persecute.’ (Saul did not realise that persecuting the followers of Christ was tantamount to persecuting Jesus Christ.’ Blinded by the Light he is led into Damascus and later converts to Christianity as a man (Ananias) prays for him and he receives his sight – not just physically but spiritually, Saul’s eyes are open as to God’s plan to place his Holy Spirit in every person who will receive his Holy Spirit and so his mission as Paul – a convert – begins as he sent not from men (in Jerusalem) or a man but by God Himself as revealed in the person of Christ! An exciting mission of taking the gospel to the world at great cost to himself and for the glory of God.