devotional

21JUL
2013

Paul“s Knowledge of Grace

 

At the outset of every letter that we’re certain the Apostle Paul wrote in the New Testament he uses a phrase that reflects his love for the church. In all 13 letters in the Pauline Corpus, with only slight variation he writes, “…Grace to you and peace from God our Father…” (Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 1:2; Galatians 1:3; Ephesians 1:2; Philippians 1:2; Colossians 1:2; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:2; 1 Timothy 1:2; 2 Timothy 1:2; Titus 1:4; Philemon 1:3). In Paul’s pastoral letters to Timothy and Titus the word “mercy” is added to the salutation. 

     Paul was a remarkable fellow. What he received from the Lord on that dirt road near Damascus (and following) changed our world entirely. Outside of Christ Himself I would say without hesitation that St. Paul of Tarsus is the most influential figure in history. In everything he wrote he bestowed grace on the faithful…even tonight.  

     Paul received a revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ raised from the dead. He saw Him killed and then saw Him alive again with his own eyes. Paul was the last Apostle of Jesus Christ this world will ever see, 1 Corinthians 15:8. Jesus personally called him and commissioned him as an Apostle. Paul’s intimate and systematic Pharisaical knowledge of the Old Testament law mixed with the Holy Spirit given knowledge of the Resurrected Christ produced a rock solid revelation in the man of an utterly invincible gospel, Romans 8:31-39, et al. The whole story of the Bible is one of God’s unfolding graces. Paul wished for his readers to know that grace. No matter what accusations we might have about the how or why of our lives we deserve nothing from God. God would be wholly justified by the law we’ve broken to sentence all culpable under it to hell for eternity, and every righteous angel would applaud Him. We know God by His grace.

     Paul knew that grace was the only way to be reconciled to a holy God. He prayed for the same grace that was given to him to be bestowed upon all those who learned from him in greater and greater measure throughout their lives. Requests to God such as those seen in Ephesians 1:17-18 and Colossians 1:9-10 mark a ministry overflowing with grace. I pray that the grace of Jesus Christ that Paul labored under be upon you as well.

 

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