Paul begins this letter with the words ‘this letter is from Paul-chosen to be an apostle of Jesus’. If it had been his choice Paul may have chosen to be apostle to Jewish believers. He certainly had the credentials.
This is what he says about himself.
I rely on Jesus. I put no confidence in human effort though I could have confidence in my effort if anyone could.
Indeed, if others have reason for confidence in their own efforts I have even more!
- I was circumcised when I was eight days old.
- I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel & a member of the tribe of Benjamin
- A real Hebrew if there ever was one.
- I was a member of the Pharisees who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law.
- I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church .
- As for righteousness I obeyed the law without fault.
Others may not have chosen him at all.
Because of his history in persecuting believers Paul was an outsider.
- He was distrusted by the Jewish believers.
- He was misunderstood by the Gentiles.
- He was feared by the Christians.
- He was seen as a murderer & betrayer.
- He was persecuted, alone & always on the move.
- He had no family. He was outside all camps with only a few friends to sustain him.
Yet he carried on as an apostle . An apostle is a one who comes with urgency & authority bringing a special message.
An apostle equips the hearers to embrace the message & go on to tell others.
You Can’t Give Away What You Don’t Have
What Did Paul Have?
Here is what he says:
The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I’m tearing up and throwing out with the trash—along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life.
Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung.
I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ—God’s righteousness.
I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it.
I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me.
Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. (Phil.3: 9-14 MSG)
Paul had a confidence that long before he made the world the Father loved him & chose him to be holy & without fault (blameless) in His eyes.
Father had already planned to adopt Paul & had set that plan in motion.
Paul knew that he had been chosen to to share this message with others.
Paul had been chosen before the foundation of the world to share this message with you & with me.
Paul’s Message for Us This Easter Weekend
Focus on this one thing:
- Forget your past
- Look forward to what lies ahead
- Press on to reach the end of the race
- Look forward to receiving the heavenly prize for which God has called you.
Grace & Peace Be Yours
God Our Father
Jesus Christ Our Lord
Loved, Chosen, Adopted
Child of God