21Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia; 22And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ: 23But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed. 24And they glorified God in me. -Galatians 1:21-24 (KJV)
Galatians is a book of the Bible in which we get to see a side of Paul the Apostle which we don’t get to see too often. He was deeply distressed over the problems being experienced by the church in Galatia which had been lead astray from the true gospel. Paul reminded them of his conversion; a conversion so powerful and complete that he was nearly unrecognizable to his former self. He had been a man who had once tried to destroy Christianity. However, through the power of Jesus Christ Paul was transformed into a committed and passionate defender of the faith.
Paul’s conversion and subsequent transformation causes me to think about a young man I was friends with in my youth. Cliff had always worn his hair long and down to his shoulders. One day, and much to the surprise to everyone, he had shaved his long hair down to what was commonly known as a burr haircut. No one in my circle of friends could find it in our hearts to make fun of Cliff’s new hairstyle, partly because we were a little afraid of him (he was a fairly rough young man and not afraid of a fight), but mainly because we were profoundly impressed. It took guts to go from shoulder length hair to a military style buzz cut. He was nearly unrecognizable to his former self.
As followers of Christ we too become new creations in Jesus. We may not go through such a dramatic transformation as Paul the Apostle or my friend Cliff, yet we are changed completely in Jesus from the inside out. Our attitudes, outlook, thought processes, desires, and priorities go through a radical transformation. We were lost and on our way to hell, yet we are now walking with Christ and have a home in glory. We have become Christ’s witnesses in a sin-darkened world. Never believe your conversion was inconsequential or unimportant. You have become a new person in Jesus Christ. Peace and joy are yours, salvation is certain, walking in the light is for every day, you have a message to share, and heaven is your home.
Thanks be to God who has given us new life in Jesus Christ.