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God's Grace and Soverign Plan Portrayed in Paul

Thursday, January 24, 2008 2 comments

The first time the Apostle Paul appears in scripture is the story of Stephen.

Acts 7:58-60 "and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, 'Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.' Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, 'Lord, do not charge them with this sin.' And when he had said this, he fell alseep."

Paul was so close to the stoning of Stephen that he held the killer's clothes. This was the beginning of Paul's persecution of Christians. In God's plan we see the conversion of Paul on the Damascus Road (Acts 9:1-9). What I found amazing is what happened instantly after:

Acts 9:20-21 "Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God. Then all who heard were amazed, and said 'Is this not he who destroyed those who called on this name in Jerusalem, and has come here for that purpose, so that he might bring them bound to the chief priests?" This is a prime example of the change believers are suppose to encounter. In Paul's case it got to the point that they tried to kill him and he had to be lowered down the side of a wall in a basket to hide (Acts 9:23-25).

Another interesting point is when Paul tried to join the disciples, the disciples were skeptical and it was Barnabas who stood up for Paul (Acts 9:26-30). Acts 4:36 tells us that Barnabas means Son of Encouragement. I found this interesting because it seems as though Christians are still skeptical of others.

Paul eventually goes on many missionary journeys and I think his background played a major role in his accomplishment. He was born a Jew and studied under Gamaliel (Acts 22:3), Became a Pharisee (Acts 23:6), and was a Roman citizen (Acts 22:25-29).

Lastly is Paul's acknowledgement of God's grace and purpose.

1 Timothy 1:12-17 "And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. This is a fatihful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life."

There is a lot to take from, but I would like to emphasize that he was enabled, counted faithful, put into ministry, acknowledged his sin to the point saying he was chief, and giving glory to God for his abundant grace, love and faithfulness.

2 comments: to “ God's Grace and Soverign Plan Portrayed in Paul so far...

  • layneh January 25, 2008 at 4:00 PM

    Held the killers clothes? You lost me on this.

    I am curious if you misunderstood the phrase "And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul."

    I am interested what that meant back in the day. Why would the witnesses lay down their clothes?

    I agree that Paul is a great example of how we should hit the ground running.

  • Roland January 26, 2008 at 12:54 PM

    I wonder who Barnabas would stand up for today?
    And would we still refuse to listen?

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