belong to certain ethnic groups have common physical and even
emotional characteristics because of the genes that control biological
and emotional aspects of their life. Certain groups of people are
prone to certain diseases while other groups totally immune to these
because of their particular genetic structure. This also means that
human behaviour is predictable and to a large extent unchangeable
unless there is genetic modification.
Paul talks about another factor that overrides genetic conditioning
that decides human behaviour. That is grace. Paul was intolerant,
violent and possibly a psychopath too. He could not tolerate a group
of Jews who considered themselves as followers of Jesus of Nazareth.
He considered this new faith called Christianity something that should
be destroyed. He resorted to violent means of arresting them and
killing them. To achieve this aim of annihilating the all the
Christians he went on a tour to the neighbouring lands too.
However, we find an entirely different Paul after his dramatic
transforming experience of risen Jesus on the Damascus road. It was
natural that his stand toward Christians was softened because he
became one of them. However, this man has become someone who willingly
suffered and even rejoiced in suffering (Romans 5:3). His attitude
towards his opponents was very accommodative (Philippians 1:15-18).
Paul attributes his transformation to "grace". He said, "But by the
grace of God I am what I am" (1 Corinthians 15:10). It was grace that
transformed him, or says that overrode the genetic conditioning of
him. The genes may control our physical look, biological factors and
our behaviour but grace that is available to us overrides "genes".
Grace is that divine element in our life, which is solely available
with God and is given to us as he wills.
So many people with inherited diseases were healed by the miraculous
intervention of God without any genetic modification. The Gospel of
grace has transformed people with criminal inclinations and who have
served prison terms to people who serve humanity sacrificially. Here
also grace has overtaken genes. The greatest of these is that change
in character that grace can bring about. Jesus Christ has ushered in
this new possibility that makes new persons out of the old; that is
called of the grace of Jesus Christ.