Standing Firm in Christ
Up Close and Personal with the Apostle Paul Series
Galatians 1:1 (KJB) Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)
The point Paul makes of establishing himself in the supernatural grip of the power and presence of God who works in the forefront of his ministry is important indeed. This detail sets him apart from many other preachers, both then and today; who are preaching, but of their own accord. Paul makes a statement at the beginning of each of his books eliminating any thought of his inspired instruction to be misunderstood as evolving from his own ideas, opinions, or understanding.
Paul makes it abundantly clear that what he pens and preaches was divinely inspired by God. It is for delivering to mankind God’s direction and decrees. This instruction rests solely in the power and presence of God, not in Paul or any other person.
It is true, no matter what book of the Bible you open of which the Apostle Paul was divinely directed to write, he has clearly established who he is, and his spiritual position in Jesus Christ in his opening statement. He does not ever make a practice of speaking loosely concerning anything of God. Take a moment to see for yourself in every book or letter Paul was divinely instructed by God to record, he first speaks of his personal position in Christ. The Apostle Paul firmly set the eternal foundation for the truths he is about to reveal.
Paul’s books are either written to churches or on a personal level to servants of God of whom he encountered at some point on his many missionary journeys. There is both doctrinal and historical context in Paul’s writings. This allows his books to be better placed in a timeline in notating an approximate time and location of his missionary journeys. Doing so better clarifies the setting and background in which each book was recorded. Paul and his various companions were sent on many missionary journeys. Placing them in a timeline of ancient history gives biblical scholars an order in which his books were written, the location Paul was in when writing, and whether he was a free person, or was imprisoned at the hands of men in this world.
Another reason the Apostle Paul delineates who he is in Christ is so that it sets him apart from his rather violent and widely known past when he was known as a persecutor of Christians and was dreaded by many believers as the vile Saul of Tarsus. As you know, it is hard to drop a bad reputation because people often choose to see a person through the lens of their past. Especially if their reputation was dark and dreadful rather than full of the light of Christ.
Yes, Paul clearly establishes himself to be in spiritual agreement with God, a servant with a sure biblical based footing for what he was about to reveal. Understanding that Paul was right in his standing with God in solid spiritual agreement, gives Paul’s words credibility by identifying him with the very presence of God. It gives his words the foundation of the authority of God. This makes the words Paul is directed to speak have an eternal propensity which every man had better pay close attention to, in ancient times or today.
Each of his books in the Bible presents qualities and promises directly from God for His people. This points to both Jews and Gentiles, as Paul was a missionary directed to lost hearts whether they be Jew or Gentile, as was revealed to the Romans and found in the Bible book of Romans.
Just as Jonah was the chosen messenger to Old Testament hearts, Paul is the chosen vessel of service for New Testament hearts in agreement with the entire canon of scripture.
Each book penned by Paul is for spiritual renewal, maturity, unhindered growth potential, application, and eternal capacity that any man can take into his mind and allow it to trickle into his softened heart. Yes, Paul reveals the very words given to him by God in following His will, bringing God honor and glory, and for mankind’s eternal spiritual benefit in standing personally firm in Christ.
**In the next devotion, the fifth in the series Up Close and Personal with the Apostle Paul is titled Paul’s Missionary Journeys – A Heart on Fire for God.
Please read the first four devotions: