Now that I am back from hospital for hip surgery, I am getting into the things that give me the most joy. I want to explore with you how God prepares us for His work. Because my interest centers around the Early Church and its rapid expansion, we will look at the Apostle Paul.
“But when He who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by His grace,” (Galatians 1:15). Notice there are two elements to this phrase.
1. Paul knew the foreknowledge of God was real (Romans 8:29) and it had determined to set this man “apart before [he] was born.” God looked ahead into what the life of Saul could be and then planned to make a transformation from the Christ-hater he was into a servant who spread the gospel from Antioch and Jerusalem to Rome. Though Paul felt “as…one untimely born” (1 Corinthians 15:8), he became one of the greatest Christ-lovers that ever lived.
2. Then came the moment when God called Saul. Saul knew there was nothing in himself that deserved such a call. It was all of God’s grace. Read how Saul, now Paul, felt about this grace. “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:4–6).
We need to feel more and more this way about how God looked down from past eternity and set us apart. You and I were not afterthoughts with God. It was His eternal purpose and grace. Now, how will you treat such divine love? Can you live as if this is not your top priority?
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