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The Proof is in the Pudding

The Proof is in the Pudding

Words of Faith 5-10-19

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2019

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Galatians 1

     [13] For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. [14] I was advancing in Judaism beyond many Jews of my own age and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. [15] But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased [16] to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man, [17] nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went immediately into Arabia and later returned to Damascus.

 

        Paul had made the bold claim that his Gospel did not originate from other men.  It was not created, transmitted or taught by others to him.  This included even the original apostles.  But how could Paul prove this to the believers in the Galatian churches? 

         The proof was in the pudding.

         There is little doubt that Paul's dramatic conversion set a benchmark definition for what it means to be completely and radically transformed.  Paul's former life within Judaism gave him a unique perspective from which to experience the grace of Jesus and discover the miracle of justification by faith. But beyond his intellectual grasp of everything Jewish, Paul had also been the most zealous persecutor of the church anyone could remember.  He had focused his life on doing everything possible to oppose the church and destroy it.

         There was no doubt that Paul was a Jew of Jews by birth and was from the "best stock" of Israel.  He had chosen to follow the way of the Pharisees which was the strictest sect of Judaism.  He had excelled beyond others his age both in his brilliant knowledge of the Law and in his strict adherence to it.  All these things were matters that the Galatians had heard of as common knowledge regarding Paul.

          As a fanatical enemy of the church, Paul served as an ultimate testimony that the power of God and the grace of Jesus could radically change a life!  No one could claim that Paul somehow stumbled into Christian faith by some uninformed accident.  No one could argue that Paul did not know enough about the Old Testament or about Judaism.  No one could claim that he had not really been committed strongly enough to Jewish traditions or that he had subtly received his instruction in Christianity from others. 

          God alone could have brought about this dramatic conversion.  And after his conversion, Paul began his life with Christ in virtual isolation.  The only place that the Gospel of salvation by grace could have come from was a direct revelation from God.

         Paul was clear about three things God had done for him.  God set him apart from birth.  God saved him by grace. God revealed His Son Jesus to him. This revelation of Jesus in Paul made clear the significance of who Jesus was and what his life, death, and resurrection signified. This became an integral part of who Paul was.

          This is the grace we sometimes call "amazing."  The chief opponent of Christianity in the apostolic era had now turned into a preacher of what he once tried to destroy.  Could this have been accomplished by men?  No.  Paul could not have received from others the gospel that he preached.

        Paul did not receive his gospel from men before or after the time of his conversion. Paul did not consult men, particularly the Jerusalem apostles, but went instead into Arabia. It was not until after three years that he went up to Jerusalem and met Peter.

         So where is the proof?  An old proverb says: The proof is in the pudding.  It is actually a saying that dates back to Cervantes' Don Quixote in which it was said: "The proof of the pudding is the eating."  The proof of God's revelation to Paul is in Paul himself.  The proof of God's grace is in Paul himself.  The proof of God's power is in the dramatic change in Paul himself.  

 

         Father God, thank You for reaching out by Your grace to save the Apostle Paul and reveal in Him the magnificent truth of the Gospel.  Manifest Your Gospel of grace in me.  In Jesus' Name.

 

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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail, and our website, and our church app excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.  

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