But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother's womb and called me through His grace, was pleasedGalatians 1:15(NASB)
The apostleship of Paul was truly unique. Every other apostle, including Matthias (who was the person that the eleven disciples chose to replace Judas), were men who had been with Jesus from the very start of His ministry.
With the exception of Paul, all the apostles were with Jesus from the very beginning when John was baptising in the wilderness, until the day that Christ ascended into heaven - and all were witness to His glorious Resurrection.
But Paul was an apostle chosen of God and not by man. He was the last of the apostles because he was called following Christ's ascension into heaven - when he saw the risen, ascended, glorified Lord. We read in 1 Corinthians: "Last of all He appeared to me also, as one born out of due time: for I am the least of the apostles." And Paul learned that he must suffer much for Christ's name's sake.
God knew that Paul would respond to his calling by faith and so he was set aside for this ministry from his mother's womb. But Paul realised that it was only by God's amazing grace that he had been saved... in order to reveal God's Son in him so that by his witness, many would be saved by grace through faith in Christ.
Paul was to be given much revelation that had been hidden in ages past... together with many Church age truths that were not even revealed to Christ's other apostles during His earthly ministry. In hindsight, we see many hints of these Church age truths hidden in the things that Christ shared. Indeed, Jesus said only hours before His crucifixion, "I have much more to say to you, but you are unable at present to bear the burden of it at the moment."
Not only was Paul set aside from his mother's womb and called by God's grace on that road to Damascus - but God was pleased to reveal His Son in Paul so that he might preach Christ among the Gentiles. We read in the Gospels that Christ was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Christ's ministry to Israel was before the Cross... but after the Cross, salvation was open to Jew and Gentile alike and it was by grace through faith in the death, burial, and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Salvation was made available to all - both Jew and Gentile in one Body and, by God's grace, Paul was called to be the main apostle for this ministry.
How we praise God that Paul was set apart for God, even from his mother's womb and that God was pleased to reveal His Son in and through Paul's ministry so that Jew and Gentile alike may be saved by grace through faith and together become part of the one new man in Christ - to His praise and glory.
Heavenly Father, thank You for calling Paul to be set apart to minister to the Gentiles who were dead in trespasses and sins and without hope in the world, but he told them that by grace through faith in Christ, they may become part of the one new man. Thank You for calling me by Your grace. I dedicate myself to Your service and pray that You would use my life any way You choose, as a testimony to the truth of the gospel of Christ. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.
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