Galatians 1:13 :
For you have heard of my way of living in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the assembly of God, and ravaged it.
Paul used to hate Christians and tried to destroy them. He would go from town to town and arrest Christians personally. He watched as Stephen, the first Christian martyr, was stoned to death. Here’s a little bit of history from Acts:
Acts 8:3-4 :
Devout men buried Stephen, and lamented greatly over him. But Saul ravaged the assembly, entering into every house, and dragged both men and women off to prison. Therefore those who were scattered abroad went around preaching the word.
Paul’s old name was Saul. Notice how he tried to kill Christianity and it ended up spreading. This is a common theme in Christianity. Some of the biggest growth periods of Christianity are when it is in the process of being persecuted. It tends to spread like a fire that just had gasoline poured on it. Also we read:
Acts 9:1-2 :
But Saul, still breathing threats and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest, and asked for letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.
It looks like, back at that point in history, Christianity was called “The Way.” Paul hadn’t written his part of the New Testament yet, and he didn’t have any idea what God would do someday. Now this guy was really not what you would think would become an apostle of Jesus Christ, but Jesus knew it all along. That’s how it was with us too wasn’t it? Not all of us did the exact type of sin that Paul did, but we all have something that we can be ashamed of. Jesus was there ready to take us in at the right time.