The Zeal of Paul
“If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so.” – Philippians 3:4
If there was ever anyone who didn’t need God – it was Paul. He was born chosen by God, a Jew of Jews. His family had religiously performed every requirement of God for him and educated ardently in law and prophets. Paul knew every command of God and fulfilled them as passionately as any man. He even defended the faith against those who would corrupt it and put many to death in his great fervency for God. He did it all.
He was as informed, as righteous, and as dedicated as any man who has ever lived.
And it wasn’t enough.
It wasn’t enough to impress God. In fact, in his sold-out zeal, Paul found himself actively fighting God. Why? He had done everything humanly possible and he was still wrong. Self deceived. And lost.
Can’t you feel the anguish his spirit must have experienced sitting in that house in Damascus (Acts 9)? Three days, blind, repetitively reviewing how you got that far off target. Crying out to God, for His help because for the first time, you realize you need Him.
Nothing you have or have done is enough.
Paul’s heritage was not enough. Nor the rituals he faithfully performed. Nor his great store of knowledge. Not even his sincere words and work for God.
It was not enough to gain him favor with the King of the Universe or ultimately, eternal life. In Damascus, Paul was confronted with the truth: He (like I) needed Jesus – the only One Who, as both God and man, can intercede between a holy God and sinful man. While blind, Paul saw clearly where he was in the eyes of God: in desperate straits for the One he had been trying to stamp out of the hearts and lives of his people.
If Paul couldn’t buy the approval of God with works (and he couldn’t), there is absolutely zero hope for me. This body is too weak and this spirit too frail. But God (of course!) knew this way before I could even considered it and provided someone Who could and did earn His approval – Jesus Christ. Hallelujah to our Great God!
“And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” – John 6:40
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