As we continue to examine the details of the Apostle Paul, one striking fact about his life was the degree of education he received. Because of his background and education, he was not afraid to stand before rulers and kings. As Paul acts as his own attorney before King Agrippa, he recalls his Jewish status before being converted by the Son of God;
“My manner of life from my youth, spent from the beginning among my own nation and in Jerusalem, is known by all the Jews. They have known for a long time…that according to the strictest party of our religion I have lived as a Pharisee” (Acts 26:4–5). This alone showed the intense dedication he had to reach the pinnacle of religious status among the Jews.
Add to that Paul’s comments in Galatians and Philippians: “And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers” (1:14). “If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless” (Philippians 3:4–6). As we would say, he was at the top of his class.
That all changed! His zeal was no longer for another degree or the next religious achievement. His zeal became focused on His Savior, His gospel and His Church. His title changed from Pharisee to servant. “This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God” (1 Corinthians 4:1). What change in status has God brought in your life?
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