Saul of Tarsus took up the cause of those who had denounced Jesus as a heretic (previous blog) and who had denounced His picture of God as false and satanic. Saul did this because he too obeyed God for the wrong reason. He worshiped a tyrannical God who would be pleased to see people persecuted, imprisoned, and even stoned to death—to force them to obey. That was the kind of God he worshiped. And he conducted his evangelism in the name of that God. It was Saul’s picture of God that moved him to use so much force. And he had many texts (or so he thought) to support it.
It was on the Damascus road that he finally saw the light, and the truth set him free. What a difference! He didn’t change his Bible or even the name of his God. He didn’t change the day he worshiped, or his diet, or his dress. What did he change that day? All Saul changed was his picture of God. And who has spoken more eloquently about freedom and faith and grace than the Saul who became Paul? Even further, he presented Christ as the end of legalism (based on Romans 10:4). We’re not under law, we’re under grace, because we worship a gracious God (Rom 6:14)!
Paul went on to say, “Don’t misunderstand me in my new emphasis, do you think my emphasis on love, trust, and freedom abolishes the law?” Faith does not abolish the law. Faith establishes the law by putting it in its proper perspective (based on Romans 3:31). In other words, when you really trust God, you love and admire Him for His wise and gracious ways. You are perfectly willing to listen to everything God has to say, and to give careful heed to all of His instructions. It’s only wise and sensible to do so, once you’re convinced God is that kind of a person.