Philippians 3:12 (ESV)
“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.”
“Christ Jesus took hold of me” (NIV)
“Christ Jesus first possessed me” (NLT)
“I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus” (NASB)
“I am apprehended of Christ Jesus” (KJV)
Preparing this week for Sunday’s message on Galatians 1:11-24 I am struck once again with how utterly supreme God’s loving plans are for us in Christ. Paul, captured always by the vision of the original capturing vision of Jesus Christ on the Damascus road, appeals again to singular transforming power of the gospel by appealing to the way it powerfully transformed him. He was headed one direction, resting in his own sovereignty over his life, but the One who had set Paul apart before his life story even began also called him in grace and was pleased to reveal the Son to him (Gal. 1:15-16), and life was never the same. Paul was writing his own life story, but Jesus stole his pen.
He got hijacked by the gospel.
F.F. Bruce writes this about Paul’s amazing about face:
It is plain that what happened on the Damascus road was no isolated mystical experience, no mere “flash” of insight or intellectual conviction, but a personal encounter, the beginning of a personal relationship which became the dominating passion of his life.
Paul’s conversion was so abrupt, enlightening, and illuminating, such a surprise and such a reversal, everything he says and does thereafter is bathed in the same blinding light. Gospel wakefulness is so powerful, its effect is sustained. It forever changes the game, flips the script.
Like C.S. Lewis getting into the sidecar of his brother Warnie’s motorbike for that fateful trip to the zoo: “When we set out I did not believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and when we reached the zoo I did.”
I have been laid hold of. I’ve been apprehended. I was writing my own life story, and it was a tragedy despite my own best efforts. But my life story got hijacked by the good news.
“The Gospel is not just a series of facts to which we yield our assent but a dramatic narrative that re-plots our identity.” – Michael Horton, The Gospel-Driven Life
The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps. — Proverbs 16:9