Galatians 1:15-17 & Romans 3:9-18
From the Reformer
Here Paul relates that immediately upon being called by God to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles, he went into Arabia without consulting a single person. “When it had pleased God,” he writes, “I did not deserve it. I had been an enemy of Christ. I had blasphemed His Gospel. I had shed innocent blood. In the midst of my frenzy I was called. Why? On account of my outrageous cruelty? Indeed not. My gracious God who shows mercy unto whom He will, pardoned all mine iniquities. He bestowed His grace upon me, and called me for an apostle.”
—Martin Luther, Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians
Pulling It Together
Yes, Saul was a persecutor of Christians, an enemy of Christ. So why should he deserve to be called to such high position in Christ’s Church? The short answer is that he did not deserve this consideration. None of us deserve to be called home to the Church of Christ. But God is gracious and calls whom he will. Indeed, he calls everyone who will receive his grace — even murderers, blasphemers, liars, cheaters, and you. And me.
No woman or man is righteous or good enough to deserve the lowest position in the kingdom of God. The fact is that we are just as bad as those we would consider the worst offenders of righteousness. Nevertheless, God calls us into fellowship with him. God’s mercy does not require explanations; it requires response. Paul “immediately” went where God directed, even though it meant going into a desert, and completely changed his lifestyle. Have you responded immediately to the call of God on your life?
© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reform: Devotions with the Reformers