Bro. Tom’s Weekly Bible Study
  Week #53
Posted: July 29, 2005

A Study of Positional Truths

I desire to look this week at two positional IN CHRIST truths found in Galatians 1:17-24.  The center of this text houses the two IN CHRIST phrases which say, Afterwards I came into the region of Syria and Cilicia: and was unknown by face unto the churches of Judea which were IN CHRIST: 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.”

The truths that Paul shares with the folks of Galatia he says this about them in verse 20, I write before God, and I lie not.”  Paul says God is the witness to those things he has written.  He tells us in verse 17 when he was first converted, he didn’t go to the other apostles for training.  We are told that he went to the Arabian dessert.  It was there he was shut up to God for three years.  If we are to know the indwelling Christ, we must learn to be alone, to be still, and to be quiet.  Many believe it was during this three-year stay in the dessert that Paul was caught up to the third Heaven and saw things unlawful for him to write. 

In verses 18 and 19 we find that when Paul returned from the dessert he finds Peter and James.  Do remember these were a part of the inner circle around Christ when He lived upon this earth.  Paul seeks them out and confronts them to their face about their actions.  They have been sharing the gospel with the uncircumcised gentiles.  When the circumcised Jews came around they feared them and withdrew from ministering to the Gentiles.  Paul tell them these words: “For if I build the things which I destroyed I make myself a transgressor.  For I through the law am dead to the law that I might live unto God.”  Let us fear to be men pleasers and let us fear to not be pleasing to the Lord our God. 

Paul tells us ‘he was unknown by face to the church of Judea which were in Christ’.  Paul did not address his thoughts to all the church.  He speaks only to the church IN CHRIST.  There is today a church within the church.  Everyone who attends our churches and joins are not always a part of His church.  There must be the evidence of the indwelling Christ. 

In verse 23 we are told of the evidence that convinced the people  that Paul had the indwelling Christ.  They were convinced by the dramatic change that has transpired in Paul.  They said he is the one who once ‘persecuted’ the church.  The word ‘persecute’ means to follow after in order to cause hardship, trouble, and death.  He now ‘preacheth’ the faith which once he destroyed.  The gospel brings radical changes in people.  It makes preachers out of drunkards.  It makes Godly wives and mothers out of harlots.  It makes strong givers out of gamblers.  It makes righteous people out of those who were only good people.  What a wonderful change has been wrought in my life since Jesus came into my heart!

Because of this change, Paul says in verse 24, “And they glorified God in me.”  The word ‘glorified’ means to give honor and attention to a very apparent presence.  It is very apparent to them that God is on, in, and working through the apostle Paul.  They do not give honor to Paul, but to the one who dwells within him.  Let us in our walk before the Lord draw attention to the one who dwells within us.  Has there been such a radical change in us that it is apparent to the world, God is in us?