6 to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel, 7 of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God’s grace which was given to me according to the working of His power.
Until now, Paul had been alluding to his God given purpose. Now he comes out and says it. What is a minister? Interestingly enough, the first definition is cross referenced with “agent” which is defined as “one who is authorized to act for or in the place of another.” Logically, it makes sense that a minister (as we know today) acts as an agent of God, someone who communicates God’s Word (in the purest form, that is, I’m not going to argue the fallibility of man, etc. etc.).
My study bible annotates that the “mystery” that Paul had been talking about is defined in verse 6. The reason this was considered a mystery is because, as we discussed before, up until the crucifixion of Christ, the Jews were the only ones known as “God’s People.” Certainly, there was some confusion once the apostles started teaching and preaching that all can be in communion with God through Christ.
Verse 7 is something that Paul does often. Occasionally it is because his credibility is challenged and he has to explain himself so that people will listen. Here though, he is simply claiming his God given purpose. He recognized that which God has called Him to and is boldly stating it, much like we declare what our job is or our name. I like how he also states what he is a minister of: the gift of God’s grace. This is the Gospel. That Christ died for our sins, once and for all, and saved us from the judgment of our sins so that we may develop a relationship with our God and He with us.
In the second half of the verse, we see Paul giving credit to what he does to God. It makes me think about who Paul was. He was a religious zealot. His bloodline and upbringing was perfect for being a Pharisee. His schooling was flawless and complete. He not only had the situation to be who he was, but also had the intellect to learn, study, and remember everything about the religion of Judaism. On top of that, he had the drive, the tenacity, and the zeal to carry it out to the fullest. He was an absolute hardliner, the perfect case for Christ to make him believe. For one, he is probably the last person anyone in that era thought could possibly believe in Christ. It exemplifies that belief is not up to us, but rather God’s own intervention. It also details how God uses these things day to day to bring Himself glory and honor. I wonder how the Christians he killed and jailed felt when they see him in heaven. I wonder how the families of those martyrs felt when they learned of Saul’s (his name before being converted) conversion. I wonder how many of Paul’s advocates and followers sought out Christ after he was converted.
There is a purpose for the things that happen in this world. There is a reason why everyone doesn’t believe. There is a reason for the suffering and anguish that happens in this world. As Christians, we try to avoid that topic because we don’t like the true answer but we don’t know what else to say about it. We cannot negate the fact that Saul’s conversion to Paul was the spark that ignited the flame which spread like wildfire throughout Europe and spread the Gospel. It lead to organized religion, which even I criticize from time to time but we must accept the fact that it has a purpose.
Today I want to close with a song I found a couple months ago that astonished me. The person singing it is someone I never expected to sing a song like this. I wonder how many of his followers will seek out God because of his conversion.
You can see what kind of singer he was by the other youtube videos pop up on the right under his name. Be warned, the older ones have explicit lyrics.