“And They Glorified God Because of Me”
And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. They only were hearing it said, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” And they glorified God because of me. (Gal 1:22-24)
Have you ever thought it? Ever said it? Ever talked with someone struggling with it? “I’ve done too much. Made too many missteps. I’m too guilty. Too unworthy. I could never make up for the mistakes I’ve already made. I’m too far gone. I don’t belong. God could never use someone like me.”
If you’ve ever struggled on that front, take a moment to reflect on what the apostle Paul shares in Galatians 1. And take courage. The churches throughout Judea were hearing it said, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” In his own words on another occasion…
“I myself was convinced that I ought to do many things in opposing the name of Jesus of Nazareth. And I did so in Jerusalem. I not only locked up many of the saints in prison after receiving authority from the chief priests, but when they were put to death I cast my vote against them. And I punished them often in all the synagogues and tried to make them blaspheme, and in raging fury against them I persecuted them even to foreign cities.” (Acts 26:9-11)
Don’t you think he could relate? “I’ve done too much. Made too many missteps. I’m too guilty. Too unworthy. I could never make up for the mistakes I’ve already made. I’m too far gone. I don’t belong. God could never use someone like me.” Now, he was preaching the faith he once tried to destroy. What was the turning point? The grace of our Lord overflowed for him with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. And what was happening now in the churches of Judea? They were glorifying God. Because of Paul. The former persecutor. One more time, in his own very personal words..
The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. (1 Tim 1:14-16)
Trustworthy. Deserving of full acceptance. Perfect patience. Mercy. Sinners saved. Eternal life.
“‘He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.’ And they glorified God because of me.”
Don’t ever doubt it. God could use even me–messy, guilty, unworthy me–to help someone else believe in him, and bring glory to himself in the process.
To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. (1 Tim 1:17)
Indeed. Amazing grace, that turns would-be destroyers into sources of glory.