What is Justification?
In Acts 9:6 Saul of Tarsus might have said; Lord, I am very happy to meet You and I do hope that from now on you will be with me in all my undertakings, blessing everything that I do so that I may be prosperous in this life, not only supporting those that are dependent on me, but also that I may have much to throw into the temple treasury. Fortunately for all of us, this did not happen.
Forgetting all his own ambitions, his trade or life work, his family and all such ties, Saul simply said, Lord, what wilt Thou have me do?
In what appears to be his first epistle, Paul claims that he is a sent one and that this was not of his choice or ordained of men, but from Christ Jesus and the Father (Gal 1:1). Paul also claims that his message is from God only (Gal 1:11-12), and that the field of his ministry was also allotted to him from God (Gal 1:16). None of all this was planned by Paul or any other men.
So as an apostle, he represents the One who sent him and during his Acts ministry he is careful to preach none other things than what was in Moses and the prophets. By a special revelation, he discovered that he could preach to Gentiles. Later on he received and preached the gospel of the administration of the mystery, both as a bond servant and prisoner of Jesus Christ.
Once does he speak of himself being a servant (Tit 1:1). The servant could have no ambitions of his own. He was wholly the property of his master, bound to do service and subject to every whim of the master, even unto being put to death.
In Eph 3:1; Eph 4:1; and 2 Tim 1:8, Paul speaks of himself as being a prisoner of Jesus Christ, or of the Lord. A prisoner did not have any rights or ambitions of his own. He was subject to the captor. He could be put to death, made to work, or maybe freed. But while a prisoner, he was at the mercy of his captor. He could not plan for himself.
We mention these things to show that in this example of Paul which we have before us that there was a total commitment to the Lord. Paul was working for the Lord; he did not expect the Lord to be his servant in any way whatsoever.
Job had the same attitude and he said, Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him. Abraham had the same attitude when he set out from Ur of the Chaldees not knowing where God might lead him. Every great man of the Bible, whose example we might follow, has taken the same attitude.
The Jews fell into idol worship and finally were cured of it by the great captivity, but they returned to the land and worshiped their temple. So their case was not much better. And today Christendom worships pictures and statues of Christ, and goes its own way and does as it pleases.
There is no bargaining with God. We cannot say that we will do so and so if He will provide. Paul knew want and need in his life (Phil 4:12). The 19th verse is written to those who had helped Paul in time of need. We cannot take this to ourselves.
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