Thursday, April 02, 2020

Postconversion perspective

This must have been a humbling moment [the Damascus road encounter], and I doubt that Paul ever forgot the way that his own zeal had misled him. He now realized that in and of himself he had nothing to offer God and was in fact deeply twisted in his understanding of his Lord. The God revealed in Jesus Christ judged his activity and exposed its corruption. The result was a Paul who speaks very much like a recovering substance abuser. He was able to look back on his previous life with a mind clarified by this revelation and see where his previous activity, which looked entirely reasonable if not praiseworthy at the time, was profoundly distorted. Moreover, the story he now tells retrospectively, after the fact, is the correct one. It is the story clarified by the gift of truth in Jesus. “Whatever I previously considered gain or advantageous, I now consider, in the light of Christ and in comparison to him, loss. Indeed, compared with the surpassing wonder of Christ I consider everything as mere excrement!” (Phil. 3:6—7).—Paul: An Apostle’s Journey, 22

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