who am less than the least of all saints,
is this grace given,
that I should preach among the Gentiles
the unsearchable riches of Christ”
Paul was indelibly struck with a depth of knowing that he was a recipient of the Grace of God. He who had been a “blasphemer” and a violent persecutor of the people of God was apprehended by the grace of God even while enroute to further his religious agenda. Paul not only declares that to him was given grace but he clarifies it by stating “this grace”; a grace with purpose and design. This grace was given to make known the unsearchable riches of Christ. Grace given must produce lives in whom that grace is revealed. Grace given is always to the end that some aspect of the unsearchable riches of Christ is made known. Many contend that Paul was a special vessel; the conclusion being that we are not responsible for this grace given to us. However, Paul declares his life was an expression or an example to ALL who should believe hereafter.
“Howbeit for this cause
I obtained mercy,
that in me first
Jesus Christ might shew forth
for a pattern to them
which should hereafter
believe on him to life everlasting”
1 Timothy 1:16
“This Grace” received by Paul produced such a sense of indebtedness unto Him who bestowed it (Romans 1:14-15). There was the ever present awareness that he was purchased at so great a cost and of which he was so unworthy a recipient. The power of this grace produced an expression of wisdom and purity which revealed the very heart of the ONE from whom this grace was given. How is it in our day we are content with an impotent, carnal* and worldly church which claims to reveal the grace of God given unto us?
Men and women who have truly received “this grace” cannot linger within the confining walls of such an impotent environment. For within “this grace” there pulsates a burning desire to MAKE KNOWN the unsearchable riches of the risen CHRIST. The fellowship they long for is found in the “fellowship (participation) of the mystery” not in a program that is the same Sunday after Sunday. Praise God there are people in the earth who, in varying stages of development, are sensing the cry of the Spirit to live, abide and participate in the Mystery of God in Christ (Ephesians 3:9)! Thank God there are those who can no longer dwell in the buildings and organizations of man and are hearing the call of the Spirit to yield themselves unto the Lordship of the Spirit in order for US to be built into a spiritual house.
“Ye also, as lively stones,
are built up a spiritual house,
an holy priesthood,
to offer up spiritual sacrifices,
acceptable to God by Jesus Christ”
It is we who are built into a spiritual house which bears the name THE BODY OF CHRIST. This church is made up of living stones filled with the wonder of the Living Christ! They are a heavenly people that live within the faith of Abraham who looked for a CITY WHOSE BUILDER AND MAKER IS GOD! Even though here on earth he dwelt in the land of promise his heart saw beyond the confines of his day, for the SON speaking of Abraham said “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad” (8:56). The recipients of “this grace” see beyond the apostasy and chaos of this day and have fixed their eyes upon HIS PURPOSES for their lives. They no longer wish to build anything for HIM but long to participate and fellowship in the depths of the MYSTERY of Christ (Colossians 1:27) within each of us. In so doing we become in reality all that HE had purposed in Christ!
“To the intent that
now unto the principalities and powers
in heavenly places might be known
by through the church
the manifold wisdom of God”
*NOTE: If Paul the Apostle called the Church of God at Corinth carnal what would he say to us in our day? He called them carnal because they began to secularize and separate themselves saying I am of Paul, I am of Apollos…and so on.
“For ye are yet carnal:
for whereas there is among you envying,
and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal,
and walk as men?
For while one saith, I am of Paul;
and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?”