GRACE IN THE LIFE OF APOSTLE PAUL #2: MANIFESTATIONS OF GRACE IN HIS LIFE

Intro:
In the first part of this teaching, an overview of the life of Apostle Paul was presented and some lessons gleaned therefrom. You may wish to click on the title below to read it if you have not as it forms the background to the present topic.

An Overview of Paul’s Life

This second part examines how God’s grace was demonstrated in various aspects of his life.

This being the fifth topic in the Grace Series, there were three topics befire we began to look at the life of Apostle Paul. You may wish to read them also by clicking on the titles hereunder to get the entire package of blessings. Read and be blessed!

Grace and the Golden Rule
A Testimony of Grace
3 Major Works of Grace in the Believer’s Life

MANIFESTATIONS OF GRACE IN PAUL’S LIFE

1. Salvation after living as a legalistic Pharisee and violent opponent of the gospel: Paul was an unlikely candidate for salvation in the eyes of the early church, being one of the Pharisees, who were among the most vociferous opponents of our Lord Jesus. Worse than that, he was a brutal persecutor of believers in Christ. In spite of these, God’s grace reached him. He testified about this in the following words:

“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” – 1 Timothy 1:15 (KJV)

According to him, God did this to make him an example to others of His infinite mercy and patience (v. 16) and a truly worthy example he turned out to be. So, are you counting yourself too far gone to be saved? Take a look at Paul’s life and make your way to the cross. No one is unworthy of salvation, no one is beyond the reach of God’s grace.

No one is unworthy of salvation; no one is beyond the reach of God's grace. Click To Tweet

2. Uncanny insight into the mysteries of God’s salvation plan and the age to come and the ability to teach these to others: Paul had an unsual level of revelation of the mystery of God’s salvation plan and taught it extensively throughout his ministry (Ephesians 3:1-11). The mystery was that God had opened the door of salvation to Jews and Gentiles alike that they might be His co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17). He even saw revelations of things in heaven which he was forbidden to speak about (2 Corinthians 12:1-7).

Apostle Peter acknowledged that Paul had special wisdom from God and taught things which were “hard to understand” in his letters, things which some people were twisting to their own ruin (2 Peter 3:15 &16). Although Paul was learned and could sound obscure to the babe in Christ, with time his teachings become plain to one. He broke down for us the fruit and gifts of the Spirit, spiritual offices, the transition from law to grace, you name it. And it was all by grace. In the passage we saw earlier in Ephesians, chapter 3, he described it all as “the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me ….” (v. 2).

Do you need wisdom? Is there an intricate problem you are facing? Are there hidden things that are necessary for you to know? Make the God of grace, who equipped Paul for his ministry your recourse.

Or do you have the knowledge but have no idea what to do with it? The God who helped Paul to interprete the mysteries and revelations he saw for our benefit can be your guide.

3. Unusual exercise of spiritual gifts: Paul operated virtually all the spiritual gifts enumerated in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10. For example, Gpd used him to perform miracles, including raising the dead, like the young man, Eutychus, who fell down from the third story window he was sitting on after falling asleep one night while Paul was giving a long farewell speech (Acts 20:7-12).

“And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them.” – Acts 19:11 & 12

Paul, among other things, spoke in tongues, prophesied, declared words of wisdom and knowledge, discerned spirits and healed the sick as shown above. One more example will suffice and it relates to discerning of spirits.

“As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. She followed Paul and us, crying out, ‘These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.’ And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, ‘I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.’ And it came out that very hour.” – Acts 16:16-18

Thus we see fulfilled in the life of Paul the promise of our Lord Jesus in John 14:12.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.”

The same promise is applicable to us today and it is not by academic knowledge, physical strength or anything we can boast about. It is only by grace as we put it to use by taking little and big steps of obedience, especially through sharing the gospel to the unsaved and teaching the saved.

4. Working extremely hard in service to God: Paul was not among the first apostles who walked with Jesus during His earthly ministry, but he outworked the others by grace. He was always on the go and writing when he was stationary. His extensive missionary journeys yielded new churches in different lands and upheld them for some time suvbsequently. His letters were a comfort and guide to the churches.

How do we handle our assignments from God? Are we lazy and complacent? Click To Tweet

He complemented these efforts with prayers, fasting and working at his craft as a tentmaker to sustain himself and his co-labourers. Although he was entitled to support from the churches, he didn’t insist on it in order not to jeopardise his results and to enable him give the gospel free to all.

“Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one – I am talking like a madman – with far greater labors, … in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.” – 2 Corinthians 11:23 & 27

“… I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” 1 Corinthians 15:10 (KJV)

1 Corinthians 9
“… the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel (v. 14).
“… Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ (v. 12).
“What then is my reward? That in my preaching I may present the gospel free of charge …” (v. 18).

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5. Endurance of much suffering for the gospel: Paul was more or less pushed to recount some of the terrible experiences he had while preaching the gospel in 2 Corinthians, chapter 11. He recalled he had been subjected to “far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and (was) often near death” – 2 Corinthians 11:23 (word in bracket mine).

He continued his tale of horrors:

“Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers” – 2 Corinthians 11:24-26.

To make matters worse, Paul had what is supposed to be a chronic physical ailment.

“… to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’…” – 2 Corinthians 12:7-9.

6. Willingness to give up everything and die for the gospel: Paul had a good understanding of his calling and was willing to forgo everything for it. He was not even afraid to die for the gospel. He stated this unequivocally on different occasions.

“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. … For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ … that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” – Philippians 3:7,8 &10.

“… I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” – Acts 21:13

Do you know there's a price for serving God? Are you willing to pay the price? Click To Tweet

7. Humility in spite of his many and outstanding accomplishments: The grace of God kept Paul humble when he could have been arrogant and proud. We see this from his writings.

“To 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” – Ephesians 3:8 (boldface for emphasis mine).

“For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” – 1 Corinthians 15:9

On the occasions he gave his credentials to prove a point, he emphasised that he shouldn’t be drawing such attention to himself and gave the glory to God as in two verses cited earlier (2 Corinthians 11:23 and 1 Corinthians 15:10).

Are you careful to give God all the glory for your achievements? Click To Tweet

CONCLUSION:
We saw in the first part of our teaching on Paul’s life (The Overview) that he was very zealous religiously to the extent of persecuting the church. Although, he was wrong, Paul was sincere such that once he encountered the truth, he did an about-face and began to propagate it with even greater vigour than he did his old faith. It is a tragedy when someone knows the truth but chooses to cling to error for whatever reason.

We also saw that Paul was conscientious in spreading the gospel and nurturing the young churches. That, I believe, was the secret of the outstanding manifestation of God’s power in his ministry. God’s power is not just for our personal benefit and comfort. Rather, and most importantly, it is for confirming the gospel.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” – Acts 1:8

“And the disciples went everywhere and preached, and the Lord worked through them, confirming what they said by many miraculous signs.” Mark 16:20 (NLT)

You and I may have been endued with power like Paul, but we may never know except we start doing something for God as He has instructed in His word and is laying upon our hearts.

PRAYER:
Father, help me to emulate your servant, Paul, as he emulated our Lord Jesus and help me to fervently serve You all my days in Jesus’ name.

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The scriptures used in this post are from the English Standard Version of the Holy Bible except where otherwise stated.
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I am a university lecturer. I teach Mass Communication, mostly writing courses like Feature and Interpretative Writing, Magazine Article Writing and News Writing, and let’s just say I’ve been doing this for a long time. As you have probably guessed, I am a born-again Christian.

73 thoughts on “GRACE IN THE LIFE OF APOSTLE PAUL #2: MANIFESTATIONS OF GRACE IN HIS LIFE

  1. One thing remarkable about the apostle, Paul is that he’s always at the fore-front. As a persecutor, He was at fore-front. He took as a task upon himself to make sure that Christians are greatly troubled. He traveled far and near, in his bid to persecute Christians. As a preacher of the gospel, Paul was also at the fore-front. This time, he traveled to distant places in his bid to spread the gospel of our Lord. He was so great a preacher that even the other apostles depended so much on him for the gospel to get to the uttermost parts of the world. No wonder the bible captures God’s words, “I have ordained him for a mission to the Gentiles”.
    One thing we Christians should emulate from the life of the apostle, Paul, is that we should be the best in whatever we do: be the best of who you are.

  2. A long post though..BT tnk God I read tru…God plz i need ur grace..nd also help me to emulate d life of ur son Jesus as Paul did.. Amen..tnks Edith for Dis spiritual thought.

  3. Truely, the apostle paul set a good example for us christians today to follow. thanks for this wonderful spiritual reminder. God bless you more.

    • And bless you more. Paul set the bar quite high but by grace, we can measure up and even exceed his accomplishments. Glory to God!

  4. the major thing i learnt from life of Paul while on earth was his life of determination. Even when he was persecuting the Christians,he did it with all his mind. After his conversion,he started working with zeal and Unlimited GRACE of GOD. that is why I love Paul as a person more among all apostles of Christ.Everyone should take note of that.

  5. St Paul’s life is worthy of emulation and it’s
    good we know he was able to conquer because of God’s grace. May God grant us His grace in everything we do. God bless you, Ma.

  6. it is my responsibility to call God, it is God’s responsibility to answer me in Christ Jesus, now i know i have to start doing my own part just as apostle Paul did in his time. my time is counting while i have not done anything. thank you for reminding me of this.

  7. Although i know the grace of God was upon Paul, I’ve never really looked at Paul’s numerous accomplishments from the angle of grace. The grace of God was upon him, but he also made himself readily available. Food for thought.

    • Yes, as the conclusion says, the same grace may be upon us but we may never know unless we start doing something for God. You are blessed!

  8. Of a truth, Paul’s life is worthy of emulation. His service to the work of God and the growth of the church as recorded is highly commendable and he serves as a mirror to many men and servants of God in the contemporary church.But one thing is sure the grace of God upon his life is hard to comprehend, somewhat bizarre! but it simply explains unmerited favour and how grace operates.

    • You’re right, my dear, it’s scary sometimes to think that someone can be so sold out to God and his work. But ultimately, that is what every true child of God desires and, by His grace, we shall grow to that level in Jesus’ name.

  9. wonderful and encouraging, emulation is rather better than envy… let’s emulate the wonderful nature of saint Paul… its worthy of emulation. but Aunty Edith, are u a fan of St. Paul?

    • Lol, you ask because I’ve been writing about him. Yeah, maybe I am in a way. There’s so much to learn from the way he conducted himself here on earth.

  10. Tanku very much ma. In truism Paul’s life is a mirror for all to reflect on. But one thing for all to ask for is grace to stand to the end.

  11. Tank u ma for this eye opener, in truism Paul is a mirror for everyone to reflect on check if your life gives God glory. But we should always ask for his ( grace) to stand in all things.

  12. Grace really manifested itself in the life of paul. What really caught my attention here is that nobody is unworthy of grace and there is nobody that cant be reached by grace. i am really going to cling to that.

  13. Apostle Paul is one servant Of God whose lifestyle is worth emulating by all and sundry. He discharged his duty with every sense of responsibility. He fought the good fight and he finished the race. God grace was sufficient upon him. With the grace of God in our lives as Christians, we can overcome trials of diverse kinds and above all, fulfill our destiny. it is well written as always. keep up the good work ma’am Edith.

  14. Paul is one servant whose lifestyle is worth imbibing. He was unreservedly dedicated to duty. He fought the good fight of faith. He finished the race. God’s grace was sufficient upon him. He never insulted the grace mind you. With the grace of God in our lives as Christians, we can overcome every temptation and above all, live out God’s purpose upon our lives.

  15. sorry, fellow Christians in this forum, at times i begin to ponder if it is better to live what i tag “:i don’t care life” just because the grace of the creator is there for the sinners. i ask because some said the life of Paul is worthy of emulation.though i don’t intend finding out faults in Paul’s former life, i also believe that once the grace of the creator is upon his child, we believe that old things have passed away but it is not a guarantee to steal, kill and destroy as satanic agent. so Christians should take note.

  16. Tank u ma for the wonderful post. The life of paul should be a mirror for us christians and we should ask for our own grace to stand till d end.

  17. Father, help me to emulate your servant, Paul, as he emulated our Lord Jesus and help me to fervently serve You all my days in in Life…. In Jesus’ name. Amen oooooh

  18. from saul to paul, from lawyer to apostle, yet he did a wonderful work on earth. that’s why he said “follow me as i follow christ”. lifestyle, really worth emulating

  19. It is quite clear aunty that u were able to list out at least seven things that the Grace of God was able to do in d life and ministry of Paul. But I really want to say that God’s Grace upon a man can enable him or her to do much more better and greater than this. I really Love the post. Is highly inspiring.

    • You’re right, Frankline! There’s no limit to what the grace of God can do in a person’s life. You are richly blessed in Jesus’ name.

  20. The fact that nobody is beyond salvation keeps baffling me. It makes me thankful and makes me angry… Lol
    Just imagine people like Boko Haram insurgents, Fulani herdsmen and their resource persons still being liable for salvation after all their massacres?!
    God is indeed too merciful for me to comprehend!
    Alas, no one has an excuse to refuse the Salvation of Jesus Christ.

    • My dear, I feel you! This was why Jonah ran away when God sent Him to prophesy against Nineveh. He suspected that the people might heed his warnings and God would forgive them. Imagine that! Jonah felt those people were just too wicked to be spared. But God’s thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways. He is thoughts and ways are infinitely higher than ours. We never know when we’ll be the ones needing a large dose of God’s mercy. Ultimately, we have to admit that an over-merciful God is a far better option than the Buddhist idea of karma and reincarnation and their endless and illusive cycles for paying for one’s sibs and attaining perfection. Glory to Jehovah!

  21. The life of apostle Paul showed me that even a worst sinner can embrace God.Paul lived a life worthy of emulation.he served God with all his strength.I pray d good lord will help us have taste for spiritual life.

  22. Sometimes I feel that God’s grace is no more there due to some of the things I do.thank God for this post,now I know that nobody is unworthy of God’s grace. All I have to do is to do the right thing at all times

  23. To me.. This is like a lesson to us..
    The bible uses Paul to teach us more.
    As a sinner that we are, God have not rejected us, rather we rejected him by doing bad.
    Anyhow, no matter the amount of bad we have done against God.. What he needs from us is just to come back to him and he will make us great. Like he did in the life of paul

  24. I thought I was not worthy but then some things are really clear to me now.thank you Ma for the inspirational write up .

  25. For us to b like any of d grt men of God, we need God’s grace to achieve dat. may his grace b sufficent for us, nd I pray God to keep inspiring u ma to b a blessing to us

  26. This is indeed a nice article Ma. At least imploring the grace of God is all we need to do, also, believing that His grace is sufficient for us in all we do.

  27. No one is beyond the grace of God.. The grace of God is seen in the life of Paul formerly called Saul who was a persecutor of the good news of christ and later turned a new life after his encounter with God on his way to Damascus. From that day Paul’s life changed for the better.. Paul is one of the disciples of Christ that took the good news to all countries far and wide.. He was a great preacher and a very obedient servant of God.
    May we encounter God as Paul did and may God grant us the grace he gave to Paul so that we will be able to do his work.. Amen

  28. At times while going through the life of Paul I feel like God’s work is meant for a particular set of people not for someone like me. At times I do say if only God can touch me like He did to Paul then I will be very serious with His work forgetting the fact that apostle Paul was a normal human being like me and God has been touching me like He touched him. It is just personal decision. He saw the light and vowed never to go back to darkness and if only we can take that decision too and mean it, then we can do greater than Paul – a man that boldy declared He fought a good war of faith and is sure of His crown… What a man

  29. We should not just read the bible for reading sake.we should try to emulate the personalities in the Bible especially Paul. May God’s grace remain sufficient for us…Amen

  30. May we not abuse the grace of God in our lives, rather we should emulate Paul. I strongly believe that God can use us irrespective of our past lives.

  31. THIS TAKES A LOT OF GRACE AND MERCY TO MARCH ON AND REMAIN STEADFAST.
    IT ALSO BRINGS TO MIND: THERE’S NONE GOD CANNOT CHANGE.

  32. There is a saying that goes like this ” never fight a man with the grace of God because the grace of God in him will surely disgrace you”. Paul’s life is just an example of what grace of God can do..the life of Paul should serve as a guide and also an encouragement to we Christians

  33. God is willing to forgive us irrespective of our past life, all we need is to return to him like the prodigal son did and ask for mercy. Paul persecuted Christain initially, but turned out to be a strong proclaimer of the gospel of Jesus Christ, he endured suffering on several occasions just to propagate God’s word and lived the rest of his life serving the Lord faithfully. All this was made possible by the grace of God. Lord, please fill me with your grace.

  34. What I cherish most in the ministry of Apostle Paul is the various gifts which he got by the grace of God which was upon him. I pray for more grace upon my life, just like Paul the Apostle.

  35. Nobody is less significant before God, no matter how sinful he or she may be. As a merciful father, no sin is too grievous to surpass His forgiving power as long as it is confessed with a contrite heart and a resolution is made never to go back to such sin. God is not so much interested in how we began the heavenly race but rather, how we brought it to completion. If we have begun the race, let us emulate St Paul who said: “Brothers, I do not consider that I have already attained this. Instead, I do one thing: forgetting those things that are behind, and extending myself toward those things that are ahead, I pursue the destination, the prize of the heavenly calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14). If we are yet to begin the race, let us know that the time is too short. Thank You, Mrs. Edith for this inspirational article through which you catch so many lost souls for Christ.

  36. Paul’s life is full of emulation, it teaches us a lot, No one is above salvation, God is interested in the life of sinners, he is ever willing to accept them and show them the true way of life.I learnt so much in this epistle,serving God has so many criteria, it has pain, loss but so much gain thereafter. Paul encountered so much pain, he carried this cross with passion and did not compromise.God’s grace was with Paul all the day of his life.Lord may you manifest the same grace in my life

  37. I pray for the grace upon the life of our Lord Jesus Christ as emulated by Paul upon my life in Jesus name.Amen

  38. Let’s try and emulate Paul’s zeal for the work of preaching and healing to restore man to his God, which is the most fundamental.

  39. If only we learn to believe in God, trust in Him completely cooperate with His will like the way apostle Paul did we will be supremely happy and filled with the grace of the Lord.

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