Drinking Deeply

Tuesday, July 18, 2006 at 11:26 AM

A Christian perspective on self

This passage came up yesterday in Bible study and someone made an excellent observation about it.

Ephesians 3
7Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God's grace, which was given me by the working of his power. 8To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in[b] God who created all things, 10so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.
They pointed out the Christian perspective on self, first highlighting that Paul sees himself as "the very least of all the saints." Many of us respect and look up to our spiritual fathers, especially those who handle the Word of God. Many of us humble ourselves before them, seeking to learn from them and serve them (as they have served us).

Yet here, it was noted, Paul calls himself "the very least of all the saints." An apostle, inspired by God, called to preach to the Gentiles, and calling himself the very least. I don't think Paul is explicitly saying that he has a lot to learn from everyone (though I'm sure he was still learning from people), but more making a statement of where he sees his position - that of serving people. Elsewhere he refers to himself as a slave of Christ or a prisoner of the Lord. It could also possibly refer to his realization of how low he was before God. A face to face encounter with his sin in light of God's holiness.

But yet, even though he sees himself as "the very least of all the saints" he has a biblical perspective on the grace of God. That God, in his grace, redeemed even him, the "least." Not only so, but God has given Paul a unique charge - to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles, to be a minister of God's grace. He boasts not in his education and his accomplishments, but rather in God's grace redeeming him and equipping him. He didn't say "woe is me!" and leave it at that, but "woe is me, but God's grace has redeemed me and prepared me to preach the Gospel."

Christian, you are a sinner, redeemed by grace. It is now that grace that also equips you to do your work for the kingdom and glory of God. Praise be His Holy Name, who has called us out of our sins and made us new in Christ, that we may now live for Him.

Matthew 28:
18And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[b] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."

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