In Galatians 1, Paul wants to make it certain that he has a true testimony and that the Gospel he preaches is the true Gospel. At the time there was a lot of false Gospel teachers around that were leading the Galatians astray and so its important that this is the true Gospel. So I am going to look at how he describes his testimony...
But firstly: When asked to do your testimony what is it normally about? I guess you. You (including me) say that I was like this, then I knew Christ and then I changed...I stopped this and this and no longer did this and I was full of Joy. Sometimes our testimonies can be more about how we saved ourselves rather then Christ saving us. But Pauls testimony is extreme and holds an interesting framework as well as a great hope.
Before he knew Christ, Paul has a lot to boast in, being a very zealous Jew! But he persecuted the church and was zealous for all the wrong things. He was going after righteousness through works when really Paul needed Grace. Like perhaps many of us before knowing Christ - we were running after the wrong things, thinking they would give us somethng that would fulfil us. But we are actually running the wrong way.
But something amazing happened to Paul that is apart of his testimony and yet he didnt do anything to deserve it nor did he do anything to recieve it.
In verse 1:15-17, Paul says that God did several things:
- He set Paul apart before he was born
- He called Paul by His Grace
- God was pleased to reveal Jesus to Him
- God commisioned him to preach among the Gentiles.
In many ways I find this is a rhythm to our testimony, that actually before we knew Christ we were zealous for the wrong things and then it was God that saved us, it was God that set us apart and called us by His Grace. It was God that was pleased to reveal Jesus to us and it was God that has told us to share Christ with everyone. Isn´t it amazing that God was pleased to reveal Jesus to us, considering all that we have done and do - he is pleased. We did nothing to change our lives around, it was all Christ.
I find that there is so much hope in this. That no matter how bad we were or cut off we were, infact it is God that brings us back and its not based on our merits or what we do! What Christ did on the Cross and what he is doing now in our lives is more powerful then what we were or are like or what Paul was like! It gives us hope that when we preach Christ and the true Gospel that it is God that changes lives and is pleased to reveal Christ!! We therefore need to keep looking at the Cross and keep reminding ourselves that our testimony is based on what Christ has done and not what we have done.