Bible Reading – Galatians 1
Galatians 1:23-24 KJV
23 But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed.
24 And they glorified God in me.
God was glorified and His Gospel magnified. I have said before that when reading through Scripture it becomes abundantly clear that God is positively obsessed with the Gospel message. It seems as if every Old Testament story has been infused with the Gospel message and points to Calvary. In the New Testament, we see this truth continued, but not simply in the pages of God’s Word. We see God directing the life of Paul to be a reflection of the Gospel to all who hear. Just as God inspired Moses to write the book of Exodus as a historical and symbolic reference to the Gospel, God directed the life of Paul in such a way that all who read his life would also understand the Gospel of Christ (Namely that the most wicked of men, even through pedigree and works, cannot inherit for himself in any way eternal life. Only through God’s mercy, grace, and power, can anyone’s life be transformed.).
Nearly twelve years ago I was sitting in a church service when a man was introduced with a most unique story (to the best of my knowledge, the following are accurate details of his testimony). Mosab Yousef had grown up in the Middle East where his father was a very high ranking figure and founding member of the terrorist organization known as Hamas. Yousef had been raised being taught that Jews were the greatest evil and must be eliminated. He had been taught to hate from the earliest age, and that hate was a part of his family’s identity to the extent that they would be willing to kill.
As a young man, Yousef had been arrested for various crimes and sentenced to time in prison. Without getting into every detail and belaboring this devotion, his time in prison caused him to have serious concerns about how Muslims treated other Muslims they felt were betraying them. When he was released from prison, Yousef, was given an invitation to a Bible study. In his own words, Yousef said that had they known who he was, they would have never even spoken to him, much less invited him to their Bible study in Jerusalem. Out of curiosity, he went, and though communication was difficult, his curiosity only grew as he received a Bible. As he went home and began reading the holy and most powerful Words of God, he read a passage that shook his entire worldview. In Matthew 5:43-44, Christ’s message was to love, be good to, and pray for your enemies. His entire life, Yousef had been taught that Allah encouraged hatred and even annihilation of his enemies. This was natural even for men. It is not difficult, and certainly not a special God-like characteristic to hate those who oppose you. It was at this moment, Yousef knew that Jesus was God because only God would have the nature to love those who hated and persecuted Him. Realizing that he was the enemy of God whom God loved, Yousef accepted Christ as his Saviour, and like Paul, he became a powerful testimony of the Gospel of Christ.
The premier purpose of our life, simply put, is to bring glory to God. We can do that many ways, and one of the greatest is to be a testimony of the Gospel of Christ! Our transformed life is a reflection to all who see just how incredible our God is! Paul did not have a monopoly on being a reflection of God’s glory. That is the responsibility and purpose of every Christian, and may the world see Jesus and love when they look at us. May every person we touch each day think not of how wonderful we are but how incredible and loving God is!
— Eli Faulds