“Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope.”
Ephesians 3:20 (NLT 1996)
Did you ever consider the amazing change that happened in the life of Saul of Tarsus? This was a man so angry and hate filled towards the early church he tried to destroy it but surprise, surprise, he was transformed in an encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus.
We find the details in chapter 9 of Acts, but notice Saul’s attitude in verse 1: “Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples.” As you read this section of Acts you will come to see that the accusation levelled against him by Jesus was, “’Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? Who are you Lord?’ Saul asked. ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting,’ he replied.'” Again, notice the amazing turn around of this man who was bringing God’s people in chains to Jerusalem to be tried and punished by imprisonment or maybe even death!
Verse 22 informs us that “Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ” (or Messiah!). With his name changed to Paul and now an apostle of Jesus, he spent the remainder of his life helping, serving, encouraging and strengthening this very same church!
Wow! This individual is totally changed; he has a new lifestyle, one of loving and serving as opposed to his former life of hate and wrath. So, I guess that poses a very important question—what can turn hate into love in a very short period of time? This individual we are talking about, Paul, tells us what can, and he should know, shouldn’t he? He writes; “Don’t copy the customs and behaviour of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is” (Romans 12:2). The Greek word used here is ‘Metamorphoo’ which means to change into another form—to become different—like a caterpillar changes into a butterfly! The word is also used for Christ’s transfiguration in Matthew 17:2. It says there “Jesus appearance changed, so that his face shone like the sun” Of course that didn’t happen to Paul except in his thoughts and actions, and of course his lifestyle. This change is internal but it flows out in love for others by the power of God, which is the only way for it to happen! It’s an indwelling of a love for which there is no charge—it’s free for all!
Lord, renew our minds by your Spirit, take away all anger and malice towards others and cause us to shine with your transforming glory.
Study by Cliff Neill
Grace Communion Church Luton
Farley Hill Methodist Church
North Drift Way
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