How did God the Father drew Paul to Himself? By pointing him to the Law? By telling him that he fell short here and there, and that he needed to try harder? No, but by revealing His Son to Paul (Galatians 1:15-16), by way of illuminating the heart (2 Corinthians 4:6). To say it another way: Paul was taught by God (John 6:43-45). Apart from the excellence knowledge of Christ (Philippians 3:8), men can not know God as He truly is (John 17:3, 8:19, 14:6-7; 1 John 2:23), and therefore can not worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). In other words, apart from the knowledge of God, he can not live rightly as he ought (cf. 1 Peter 1:14; Luke 23:34; John 16:3; 1 John 5:20-21). Those ignorant of God (Romans 10:3-4) will naturally focus on their so-called “good works” (John 6:28) that can not save (Isaiah 64:6).
Before his conversion, Paul was blameless according to the law, and above reproach in the eyes of men. He was circumcised in the flesh (Philippians 3:5), but there was one problem: His heart wasn’t (cf. v.3), because a Jew is not one who is outwardly circumcised and physical, but inwardly, a matter of the heart, by the Spirit (Romans 2:28-29). Paul was one of those “who handle the law” but “did not know Me” (Jeremiah 2:8). And “desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm” (1 Timothy 1:5-7). He had zeal, but not according to knowledge (Romans 10:2). He was taught by men (cf. 2 Timothy 3:7), and not by God (John 6:45 [cf. Galatians 1:11-12; Matthew 16:17]).
This is why we must be born again, and receive the kingdom of God as little children (Mark 10:15), and not as learned men, or religious men. Come as a child, abandoning what we know and were taught by men about being right with God. Lay aside all filthiness (cf. Isaiah 64:6) and as newborn babes let us desire the pure milk of the word so that we may grow! (1 Peter 2:1-3). We become what we treasure the most in our hearts; we become what we set our eyes upon (cf. Psalms 115:4-8), what we think, study and trust in. In other words, we conform to the image that we are seeking after. For this reason, we must set our eyes upon Christ and seek to grow in our knowledge of Him if we are to be like Him (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Jesus says in John 17:3, that eternal life is to know God (first and foremost), and down in V.17, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” We are sanctified by His truth, and a sanctified life flows out of a right relationship with God, a true knowledge of Him, and not by rules and regulations (Matthew 15:1-9,13), but proceeds from a loving Father-Child relationship (1 John 4:19).