When Paul was set free from his religious extremism and traditions of hatred that led to murder, it revolutionized his life. There is no other way to say it. It wasn’t rehabilitation. It was regeneration. A new birth into a new 19 st juelife diametrically opposed to his old life. Paul’s conversion to Christianity shocked the religious world. Galatians 1:23 tells us that all the churches, even those he had never visited in Judea, were hearing about it. Paul says that although he was not known personally in many churches, yet “…they were hearing it said, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” This news was so remarkable that in the next verse (Galatians 1:24) Paul says, “And they glorified God because of me.”

Paul was a hopeless case! Nothing could have pierced his religious fervor. But God did. Kathy often said that I was a hopeless case and that nothing could have pierced my secular fervor. When I was a young Catholic altar boy, I chose a patron saint. It was Saint Jude. It’s interesting to me now because Jude was the saint for hopeless cases. How appropriate for me! I was a hopeless case, a lost cause! But, lo and behold, God performed His work in me. Since that time I’ve met many men and women who were believed to be hopeless cases. But God reached them! It takes years sometimes, but God does what no one else can ever do when it comes to bringing revolutions to the lives of hard-hearted, stubborn people. He brings revolutionary changes into the lives of hopeless cases! Aren’t you glad?

How does Jesus do that? Think about it. He didn’t write any books, yet there are more books about Him than any other subject in the world! He owned nothing! He had no bank account and could have never qualified for an American Express card. He was considered a criminal. He was convicted and executed as one. He was deserted by his best friends and betrayed by his worst friends. In all ways imaginable he was a failure by human standards. Yet He proclaimed a message that destroyed the chains of slavery. It broke down the walls of racism, sexism, and every other kind of slavery imaginable. All this was accomplished by His simple message; God loves us all! He loves us so much that while we were still his enemies he sent Jesus to die for our sins. Then He proved that we were forgiven by raising Jesus from the dead and sitting him on the throne where he will reign in the church and one day over the entire world. This failure by human standards becomes the greatest success by God’s standards! We can appreciate why Paul was so determined to preach this message. It had to be proclaimed! There is no other truth that will set us free. Jesus is the “truth.” It’s this truth that sets people free!