A New Thing, Daily Reform, Day 57

Paul by Rembrandt
Paul by Rembrandt

Galatians 1:15-17 & Acts 10:9-43

From the Reformer

I went to Arabia before I saw any of the apostles. I took it upon myself to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles without delay, because Christ had called me for that purpose. This statement refutes the assertion of the false apostles that Paul had been a pupil of the apostles, from which the false apostles inferred that Paul had been instructed in the obedience of the Law, that therefore the Gentiles also ought to keep the Law and submit to circumcision.

Martin Luther, Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians

Pulling It Together

God was doing something new through a man with an old, old spirit. Here was Saul of Tarsus, steeped in the ways of his forefathers, a Jew among Jews. He was a Pharisee an expert at interpreting the Law of Moses. Yet God opened his heart to spread his loving favor to the Gentiles too. His grace called for no special conditions. And the Gentiles were not to be second-class citizens of the kingdom of God. Indeed, it appeared they were getting off easier than the Jews. Gentiles must submit their hearts to God but were not asked to submit to circumcision.

Paul was not operating his mission under the old ways or even at the instruction of the apostles. His directive was straight from God. Nevertheless, it harmonized with apostolic precedent, since Peter was also instructed by God to extend his grace to the Gentiles. God shows no partiality. (Acts 10:34) And so, neither must his preacher.

Paul reached out to those people his own people had shunned. He followed the injunction of Jesus. You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. (Acts 1:8) God was doing a new thing through Paul, the most unlikely candidate available. He also did something new through Martin Luther, another unlikely prospect. What can God do with you if you obey him without delay?

© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reform: Devotions with the Reformers

Leave a Reply