top of page

My Past is Not My Future: Paul's Story of Redemption (Galatians 1:11-24)

Galatians 1:11–24 - 11 For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. 12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. 13 For you have heard of my former manner of life in Judaism, how I used to persecute the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it; 14 and I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries among my countrymen, being more extremely zealous for my ancestral traditions. 15 But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, was pleased 16 to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went away to Arabia, and returned once more to Damascus. 18 Then three years later I went up to Jerusalem to become acquainted with Cephas, and stayed with him fifteen days. 19 But I did not see any other of the apostles except James, the Lord’s brother. 20 (Now in what I am writing to you, I assure you before God that I am not lying.) 21 Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. 22 I was still unknown by sight to the churches of Judea which were in Christ; 23 but only, they kept hearing, “He who once persecuted us is now preaching the faith which he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they were glorifying God because of me. 


What does today’s passage say?

In today's passage, Paul explains that the Gospel he preaches is not founded on human wisdom but on direct revelation from Jesus Christ (vv. 11-12). After God set him apart and called him to share this Good News, Paul immediately started proclaiming Christ among both Jews and Gentiles (vv. 13-16). He did not consult with other apostles but went to Arabia then Damascus (v. 17). Later he met with Peter and James in Jerusalem (vv. 18-20). Paul then spread the Gospel in Syria and Cilicia even as persecution mounted against him for the transformed life he now lived by God's power (vv. 21-24).


How can I apply Galatians 1:11-24 to my life?

Paul's dramatic testimony offers valuable perspective for every believer's walk with Christ. Though Paul once opposed the Gospel, God powerfully intervened and transformed him into an ambassador for the Good News of redemption. Paul did not deserve this grace, but Jesus changed the entire trajectory of his life. As we reflect on Paul's story, we recognize the profound, humbling truth that our salvation rests entirely upon what Christ accomplished for us, not our own faulty efforts. If the Lord could turn Christianity's fiercest adversary into its boldest proclaimer, then He can use anyone for His glory. Paul's transformation and subsequent ministry helps anchor our faith in God's sovereign plan of salvation revealed through Scripture. His life models how receiving undeserved grace should fuel passion for purity, service, and evangelism so that others might know this amazing Gospel. As those similarly saved by grace through faith, we glorify God by our words and actions. Here are some basic principles from this passage that we should apply to our lives:

1.     Know that the Gospel Is God’s Plan of Redemption and Not of Man (vv. 11-12): Paul wants believers in Galatia to recognize that the Gospel message he preached did not come from human invention or tradition but originated from divine revelation through Jesus Christ. Since the Gospel is authored by God Himself for the redemption of mankind, it carries unparalleled authority and purpose. All followers of Jesus should anchor their faith in the reality that the way of salvation comes directly from the heart and mind of God, not religious teachers. As we place our confidence in the Gospel, we can be assured of building upon solid truth that will never fade or fail. This revelation should compel us to study Scripture more intently and conform our lives wholly to its message of grace. Just as Paul realized his former zeal lacked true understanding until God unveiled His glorious Gospel, so too should modern Christians hunger to grow in comprehending the breadth and depth of God's amazing redemptive plan, proclaimed from Genesis to Revelation as a unified story of rescue, regeneration, restoration, and reconciliation made possible through Christ Jesus our Lord (Genesis 3:15, John 3:16, Ephesians 3:18-19, Revelation 21:1-5).

Food for Thought: What are some ways you can grow in understanding the fullness of the Gospel message across Scripture this year? What impact will this have on your walk with Jesus?   How might anchoring your faith in the reality of the Gospel’s divine origins increase your passion for biblical study and obedience?

2.     Let the Grace of God Be Revealed In and Through You as You Live Out Your Salvation Testimony (vv. 13-17): As we see God radically transform Paul from a persecutor of the church to an apostle for Christ, it spotlights the incredible grace that overflows from the Gospel message. In the same manner, every Christian has a testimony of God's undeserved favor leading them out of darkness into light. Since this grace radically transforms our identity and purpose, we must let it shine through our character, conduct, and conversations. As ambassadors of reconciliation, the grace that saved us should compel us to lives of holiness, service, and evangelism. Like Paul, sharing our salvation story allows others to glimpse the beauty and power of the Gospel. Our changed lives give tangible evidence of its authenticity and authority. Therefore, let us wear the garments of grace each day, through Spirit-led deeds, words and attitudes, so that God receives all honor and glory for the astonishing work He began and will one day complete (Ephesians 2:8-10, Titus 2:11-14, Titus 3:3-7, 1 Peter 2:9-12). 

Food for Thought:  In what ways do your actions, reactions and conversations evidence God's grace? What further areas need transformation? Who can you intentionally share your testimony with this week to display the excellencies of Christ? 

3.     Give All Glory to God for Changing You (vv. 18-24): As Paul continues recounting his dramatic conversion, he highlights how it was a sovereign work of God, not his own doing. His radical transformation occurred because Jesus intervened with grace. We too must acknowledge that our salvation rests upon Christ's finished work, not our merits or efforts. It is God’s gift to us that we receive through faith. Because the Gospel depends completely on what God has accomplished through Christ, all praise and credit belongs to the Lord alone. Our natural state as sinners left us incapable of reconciling ourselves to a holy God. But in love through our faith, He drew us to Himself, removed our hearts of stone and gave us new life in Christ. Since we contributed nothing to the costly gift of salvation, humility demands that we glory only in the cross. May our tongues proclaim, and our lives demonstrate, that our God deserves all honor for reaching down into the pit of our despair through Jesus Christ to rescue us for His glory. Let this God-centered focus spur us to deeper worship (Psalm 115:1, Isaiah 48:11, 1 Corinthians 10:31).

Food for Thought: What are some ways you can fight the tendency to boast in your own goodness versus God's gracious redemption this week? How will remembering that you deserved wrath but received mercy lead you into greater awe and intimacy with Christ?

Paul's testimony stands the test of time to remind all believers that the Gospel originates from divine revelation, not human wisdom. This Good News of salvation remains "the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes" (Romans 1:16). May we anchor our lives upon the strong foundation of Scripture alone that clearly points us to new life through Christ. God still changes lives today through the uncompromising message of His grace and truth. Those transformed by the Gospel now carry the responsibility and joy of spreading this message near and far, just as Paul did. For the Lord who appeared to Paul on the Damascus road desires all people to hear of salvation and repentance. May we be ready to serve our role in that mission until the glorious day of Christ's return.



Dear Heavenly Father,

I pray that You would give me an enlarged vision of the beauty and power of the Gospel message found in Scripture. Ground my faith firmly in Your word and transform areas of my walk that are not aligned with Your truths. Forgive me when I boast in my own goodness over what You have so graciously done on my behalf. Create in me a heart of deep gratitude that You would save a sinner like me. May I never get over the wonder of Your mercy displayed through Christ on the cross. Help me share my testimony with humility and boldness so that others may know of Your gift of salvation by grace alone through faith alone. Use my voice and actions to point people to the freedom, purpose and hope that comes through embracing Jesus Christ as Lord of one’s life. I long to live out the radical difference Your forgiveness and new life make possible by the power of Your Spirit.

I pray these things in the most precious name of Jesus, Amen.


Galatians 1:11-12: “For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. 12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.”



With His Blessings,

Pastor Corby

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page