But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed. And they glorified God in me.
This was a title and a distinction that Paul bore for the rest of his life—the persecutor turned preacher. And in that way, he was a living testimony of the amazing and abundant grace of God and what Jesus Christ can do in a heart when He becomes real to us. Paul was able to overcome his old reputation and establish a new one as a faithful servant of God. His mindset completely changed. For Paul, it was no longer a religious pursuit, but a relationship with Christ. And as a recipient of His grace, He became a witness of that grace to many others.
It was a strong testimony in support of the Gospel truth for someone who once sought to destroy Christians to now embrace that same faith. It shows the power of truth to change everything about us. It shows that truth cannot be denied. It is a testimony for unbelievers to see such a conversion and envision the same thing happening for them. And instead of his past being a hindrance to him, Paul’s transformed life was only proof that it was all the work of God, and that brings Him much glory.
Perhaps we feel sometimes that change is so impossible. Even after we have been saved, old habits seem hard to break or old attitudes or old ways of doing things. And if we tried to do it ourselves, it would be impossible. But God’s power goes above and beyond any human ability and is therefore able to change us and change us significantly. We can be different than we were before, opposite, really, loving what we used to hate and hating what we used to love. There is hope for anyone to be changed by the love and grace of God. And no one is beyond the reach of His power.
It is to God’s honor and glory that He can save and He can change anyone, even the most unlikely person, like Paul, like us. He can use anyone, like Paul and like us. He can restore and redeem us no matter what we may have done in the past. We can move forward into a future that establishes a legacy of all the ways that God was able to work in and through us because we made that first decision to surrender to Him and were willing to accept His grace and let Him change us. So may we go forward now as faithful servants who honor God thanks to His amazing work in our hearts.