September 11th 2010

Before And After

Lessons From The Conversion Of Paul
2nd of 4 studies 

“You have heard of my previous way of life”
Galatians 1:13 (NIV)

Detective programs sometimes introduce new terminology. Maybe you have heard the phrases, “does he have any prior convictions?” or “does he have any previous?” The question is whether there is anything from a person’s past that would have a negative bearing on the current situation.

Paul had a BC AC view of his life, “Before Christ” and “After Christ”.

He reminds the Galatians of how it was before God revealed Christ to them. They participated in the “acts of the sinful nature” (6:19) and now they were in danger of letting themselves “be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (5:1). They should rather let themselves “live by the Spirit” (5:16) and celebrate “the fruits of the Spirit” (5:22).

How do you live? That is the question Paul asks. According to your past or according to your future in Christ? Don’t let your past, no matter how glorious or how bad it was, get in the way of your future.

Paul had quite a past to live down. He had been involved with the killing of Stephen, and had devised a plan to capture believers and put them on trial for their faith. After he became converted, however, a new story went out about Paul. “They only heard the report. The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy”, Paul wrote, “And they praised God because of me” (1:23-24).

What about you? Do people associate you more with your previous way of life, or do they praise God because of the change in you? Do you live more BC than AC?

“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit”, not in step with our past (5:25).

Gracious God, help me not to live according to my previous way of life without Christ, but to live in the Spirit so that others may see Christ in and through me. In Jesus’ name.

Study by James Henderson 

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