In trying to convince the Galatian people that righteousness comes by grace through faith in Jesus and not by following the Law of Moses, Paul needed to establish his credibility so the people would believe what he was teaching.
To do this, he shared some of his personal testimony about his journey from law to grace, from Judaism to Jesus.
Paul was raised in Judaism which are the demands, duties, diets, and days of the Law of Moses.
Paul’s father was a Pharisee.
A Pharisee’s life was dedicated to strictly observing all 600 plus laws and rituals of Judaism so he could become righteous before God and enter into the kingdom of God.
Paul followed in his dad’s footsteps, becoming a Pharisee himself.
Paul’s passion for the Law of Moses compelled him to study Judaism under one the most respected professors of Judaism - Gamaliel (Acts 22:3).
Under the mentorship of Gamaliel, Paul’s knowledge of the Law of Moses increased rapidly, causing him to advance beyond many of the other students of the Law.
Paul’s passion for and dedication to Judaism, the Law of Moses, was so deep that he began persecuting, even to the death of some, those who came to faith in Jesus.
Paul saw the grace of Jesus as a threat to the Law of Moses.
But then something happened...Grace Happened.
On the Road to Damascus, the risen, ascended Jesus appeared to Paul then, over the course of time, taught Paul the transforming truths of grace, one of these truths being that righteousness is not gained by following the Law of Moses but is received by grace through faith in Jesus.
Paul described his experience as an act of God’s grace from before he was born when he wrote in Galatians 1:13-14,
“But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not rush to consult with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to the apostles who came before me, but I went into Arabia and later returned to Damascus.”
From Paul’s own words, we learn that it was God’s grace plan to reveal Jesus to and in Paul and then train Paul to communicate his grace with people all over the world (Gentiles).
Paul wrote about his journey from law to grace, not only in Galatians, but also in Philippians (3:4-9) and in 1 Timothy (1:12-17).
He taught in Romans 10:4 that Jesus is the end of the law for righteousness for those who believe.
Furthermore, he taught the law has been abolished (Ephesians 2:15) and canceled (Colossians 2:13-16), and that one who comes to faith in Jesus is not under law but under grace (Romans 6:14).
Paul was not taught the message of grace by any person, no flesh and blood taught him the fullness and finished work of Jesus on the cross.
Rather, Paul was taught personally by the risen, ascended Jesus (Acts 20:24; 26:15-18; Ephesians 3:2-8).
Paul emphasizes being personally taught by Jesus in his letter to the Galatians to gain credibility (Galatians 1:10-12).
It is believed the time Paul spent in Arabia was when Jesus personally instructed Paul about the truths of grace.
Having been taught by Jesus the good news of God’s grace (all that God did for us in Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection to provide righteousness for us and give us eternal life), Paul was sent by Jesus to take this good news of grace into cities all over the world where grace-based churches would be established to reach people with and teach people God’s grace.
Paul’s journey from law to grace, from Judaism to Jesus was complete, and he now journeyed from city to city to tell others about grace.
One of the places he went was the region of Galatia.
In Galatia, he went into its cities and shared grace (Acts 13:13-14:24; 18:23).
Initially, the people joyfully embraced the good news of grace...that righteousness came by grace through faith in Jesus and not by following the law of Moses.
Eventually, however, they rejected the grace of Jesus and returned to following the Law of
Moses for righteousness.
Now Paul, who previously was educated in the Law of Moses by one of the best professors and who practiced the law with great passion, writes to convince the Galatians that righteousness comes freely by grace through faith in Jesus, apart from the works of the law.
To gain credibility with the Galatian people, Paul personally shared some of his testimony about his journey from the Law of Moses, where righteousness is attempted to be earned, to the Grace of Jesus, where righteousness is given freely by God and accepted through faith in Jesus.