Galatians 1:14-15 :
I advanced in the Jews’ religion beyond many of my own age among my countrymen, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers. But when it was the good pleasure of God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me through his grace,
Paul was set aside by God’s choice. It had nothing to do with Paul, as we can clearly see here. Since Paul was unable to choose anything while in his mother’s womb, he clearly didn’t have a say in what God thought. He wasn’t able to do anything good or bad before God favored Him.
This tells us something about the grace of God. God’s grace, or favor, isn’t something we get by working for it. He is pleased to give it simply by His own choice. You see how following rules and laws cannot make you any closer to God if He has already chosen to be close to you?
When Paul talks about “grace,” he is talking about this kind of favor. It is the kind that God chose and we were unable to participate in by working for it. This is a very important thing to be aware of as we go on studying this letter.
I think that it is also interesting to note that God allowed Paul to wander for a time. Paul doesn’t hold any bad will against God for this. Paul realizes that it was God’s “good pleasure” to do what He chose to do. Paul is happy that things turned out the way they did. Because of Paul’s background, he gained a very specific perspective that he could take with him into ministry.
God still works with us this way today. Our past may not be good at all, but God knew in advance what He was doing. God knows exactly what is going on in our lives today as well. We should trust God for the future because He has good things planned for those who believe Him.