“Don’t Look Inside You, Efren”

In Galatians 1:13-24, Paul proves the truth of his gospel by giving an account of the events before he met Jesus Christ (1:13-14), when he met Jesus Christ (1:15-16), and after his encounter with Christ (1:17-24). In this account Paul confirms the truth of the gospel by pointing out the radical transformation that happens in his heart – from Saul the persecutor and religious to Paul the follower of Christ and preacher of the gospel.

In our life we can also see this transforming power at work when: (1) we realize our great need for the gospel of grace; (2) we received by faith what God revealed to us in Christ; and (3) when people recognize the transforming power of the gospel in our life, that what happens in our life is a work of God, not of man.

Only the gospel of grace can bring real transformation of the heart.

Efren Peñaflorida of Cavite City was recently awarded the 2009 CNN Hero of the Year for pioneering a mobile education program called “pushcart classroom” to help in teaching urban poor youth as alternative to gang membership. In his acceptance speech he said:

Serve, serve well, serve others above yourself and be happy to serve. As I always tell my co-volunteers… you are the change that you dream as I am the change that I dream and collectively we are the change that this world needs to be…Each person has a hidden hero within, you just have to look inside you and search it in your heart, and be the hero to the next one in need.

Yes, we want change. We want change in our society, we want change in ourselves. But the problem is our heart – the rebellious self.  “You just have to look inside you”? No. What is inside is a rebel, not a hero. You have to look outside. You have to look to Jesus, the one who was crucified on the cross to make possible the true transformation of our rebellious hearts. It will happen not by looking inside of us but looking outside of us, looking to Jesus. Don’t look anywhere else; look to Jesus’ gospel of grace. That’s the gospel of grace. That’s God’s transforming grace.

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