What takes a man who prosecuted followers of Jesus Christ to become His champion?
All changed for Saul (Great one) on the road to Damascus when he was struck blind by the heavenly light with the voice of the risen Jesus speaking to him: ‘Saul, Saul why are you persecuting me?’ This was the crucial moment in Saul’s life as he regained his sight back after being baptised three days later with the Holy Spirit by Ananias of Damascus. From then on Saul (Great one) became known as Paul (Small one) who devoted his entire life until his death preaching the gospel of Jesus. In the years to come he travelled across Asia Minor and Europe planting churches of Christ and proclaiming that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Over the years of preaching this brought him nothing but trouble wherever he went, he was arrested numerous times, was beaten, stoned and many times escaped from an almost certain death. But never for a moment had he lost faith in the Lord. His main objective was to part from Jewish monotheism, preaching that the 10 commandments, which had been given unto Moses by God, were no longer necessary to be obeyed. This was because he believed that Jesus was the perfect one who had come down from Heaven to fulfil this law in order to redeem humanity from its curse. The Lord God knew that the people were entrapped by the Law therefore it served as a preparation for the coming of Christ and for us to be able to walk in the liberty of the spirit. Paul opposed the old way of circumcising male children, which had been the covenant between God and Abraham. For him, Christianity meant not keeping the rules and regulations but living by faith and grace. Christians are free from the book of Moses. The only way to inherit the Kingdom of God is to walk in the spirit not to live by the works of the flesh.
“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only by faith working through love.”(Galatians 5:6).
Jesus of Nazareth was a Jew who was born under the Law of Moses, which is the perfect central point of how Jews conduct their lives. As Jesus testified, He came not to destroy but to fulfil this Law.
Jesus preached, obeyed and lived by Moses’s commandments and sacrificed himself to redeem the humanity of the curse of the Law and Paul carried on His work. In Paul’s letter (Galatians 3:10-14)“10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them. 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’ 12 But the law is not of faith, rather ‘The one who does them shall live by them.’ 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’ 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might’ come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith,’ we see the only law he followed is love”.
After the death of Jesus, James ‘The Just’ also known as ‘the brother of Jesus’, became the leader of the early Christian Church. As Paul’s new movement started to grow in numbers and power the conflict between James, Peter and Paul finally made these two factions split.
End of Part 1
Galatians are the most powerful letters in the bible written by the Apostle Paul. Some Christians may take these letters that have been written by Paul as too personal, argumentative, heated with anger. Nonetheless, it was a protest against the ‘Giants of the Church’. As the founder of Protestantism Martin Luther said this was his favourite piece in the Holy Bible.