“For you have heard of my former manner of life in Judaism, how I used to persecute the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it; and I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries among my countrymen, being more extremely zealous for my ancestral traditions.” – Galatians 1:13-14
Everyone has a story, but the majority of people have a one-part story. Let’s look at the life of Paul. Paul begins his story by talking about his former life in Judaism. Now understand that Paul was very serious about practicing Judaism. Today, we would call him orthodox.
In those days, Saul (who would later become Paul) was actively seeking to destroy the followers of whom he saw as a misguided, blasphemous heretic by the name of Jesus Christ. In Acts 22:4, he says, “I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and putting both men and women into prisons.” Christianity, at that time, was known as the Way. Why? Because Jesus Christ says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except by me.” So, Saul was doing all he could to eradicate what he felt to be heresy. Saul was a classic, religious terrorist.
Our modern society, unfortunately, is still aware of religious terrorists who believe passionately and zealously that what they are doing is right and is pleasing in the eyes of God. Their actions aren’t just motivated by hate but are efforts to eradicate what they believe is false teaching about God. Yes, it is diabolical evil that is occurring, but for the religious terrorist, there is this blind self-righteousness that what they are doing is right. And Paul had that same kind of mindset.
This background in the life of Paul, what we are calling “Part One,” is the time in his life before meeting Christ. Everybody in the history of the world has part one of his/her life story. Now some of you might be thinking, “There’s never been a time in my life when I wasn’t a Christian” Well, the Bible is very clear—no one inherits Christianity. All of us at some point must make a decision in our life as to whether or not we’re going to trust Christ and follow Him.
Saul represents the majority of mankind in Part One of his story. Most never get to Part Two. But, Saul did. And it was triggered by a pretty amazing, miraculous event. You don’t want to miss it!