Paul, Set Apart
Paul had an experience close to the hammer thing with John Henry where he was given clear direction as to what God wanted him to do, and to stop doing. Previously we have discussed the story of Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus as detailed in Acts chapter 9. Paul again states the authority by which he preaches and teaches in Galatians chapter 1. “ I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. I was advancing in Judaism beyond many Jews of my own age and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went immediately into Arabia and later returned to Damascus.” (verses 11-17)
This is a great testimony and one that I think a lot of us would like to be able to share in. Paul very specifically knows who the source of his calling is (Jesus Christ), and what his calling is to be (preach Jesus to the Gentiles). Wouldn’t that be great? It seems that many times we kind of wander around spiritually wondering what we are supposed to do. Or we spend years trying to force ourselves into a ministry that really doesn’t suit us. Wouldn’t you like to have Jesus visit you on a walk one day and tell you exactly what He wants you to do for the rest of your life? I would.
So what’s the deal? Does God just hide like a kid in a bush keeping Himself hidden and quiet so that we can’t find out what we are to do for Him? Let’s take a look at verse 15 out of Galatians chapter one to see if we can’t shed some light on this. “But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased,”
The first major topic we hit upon is God. It seems we talk a lot about God and a belief in Him but ask some folks who God is and they act like they don’t know. This puzzles me. I mean, I certainly don’t know everything about God and I don’t believe any person can really understand God completely because He is God and we aren’t, but it seems to me that we need to have some concept of who He is in order to state belief in Him. “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” So says A.W. Tozer in his classic book, “The Knowledge of the Holy”.
Arthur Pink wrote a series of magazine articles in the early 1900’s that eventually came together as a book called “The Attributes of God,” which I highly recommend you read. It goes into detail on seventeen attributes that Mr. Pink assigns to God. These are listed below:
1. The Solitariness of God
2. The Decrees of God
3. The Knowledge of God
4. The Foreknowledge of God
5. The Supremacy of God
6. The Sovereignty of God
7. The Immutability of God
8. The Holiness of God
9. The Power of God
10. The Faithfulness of God
11. The Goodness of God
12. The Patience of God
13. The Grace of God
14. The Mercy of God
15. The Love of God
16. The Wrath of God
17. The Contemplation of God
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