For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.
Galatians 1: 13-17
Bible Teacher Chip Ingram often refers to the power of checking the rear-view mirror of life. He also warns that a life focused on the rear-view mirror goes nowhere good. In fact, if you attempt to drive your car by looking in the rear-view mirror you’ll fail to both enjoy and see what is ahead. You’ll likely end up in the ditch.
Paralyzed by your past? Traumatized by your failures? And now afraid of the future? If so, consider the power of a Gospel-changed life.
Before coming to Christ, Paul’s life was consumed with the traditions of his fathers and he was climbing the ladder of success of Judaism. His zeal led him to persecute the “church of God violently and tried to destroy it.”
Think he had some past regrets? Could he be trusted by others? Could he be forgiven? Absolutely. He understood the concept expressed by the Psalmist who wrote “as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:12)
Looking back, Paul also saw God’s hand of grace preparing him for ministry to proclaim Christ to the Gentiles. By surrendering completely to Christ, Paul’s life was radically changed and as a follower of Christ, he was free. He meant what he wrote:
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).
Forgiven. End of the past old life and the beginning of the New Life promised by Christ.