Paul: A Character Study

The Apostle Paul accomplished a lot in his life.  He traveled the known world preaching the gospel.  He was thrown into prison for the cause of Christ, but he continued to preach anyway.  His resume would dwarf the resume of any other preacher who has ever lived.  Yet, there is also no other person who understood grace like Paul did.

To understand Paul you have to understand where he came from.  Paul was not originally a Christian.  As a matter of fact, he started out as a persecutor of Christians.  Everywhere he went he hunted them down.  But like so many who came before him and after him, he had an encounter with God that changed everything.

One day as he was headed to Damascus, he was literally knocked off his horse.  In the next few minutes everything that Paul thought he knew about God changed.  He was a Hebrew of the Hebrews and a Pharisee of the Pharisees, but he still didn’t know who God really was.  The voice that spoke from heaven claimed to be Jesus.  But that couldn’t be right could it?

Paul wrestles with this new revelation for three days, but eventually there is no denying it.  For the rest of his life Paul preached the message that he had previously sworn to destroy.  He travels all over the known world proclaiming that Jesus is the Christ.  The Pharisee became a disciple of Jesus Christ.

In Ephesians 2:8 Paul said that it’s by grace that we are saved.  It’s not by anything that we can do, but it is in fact the gift of God.  This is astounding considering the source.  You see, Pharisees believed that you could earn the favor of God.  That’s originally what Paul believed too.

However, after his encounter with Jesus, and his ensuing ministry, Paul learned that grace alone can save us.  We can’t work our way to God.  Our righteousness cannot even hope to compare to his righteousness.  We fall short in every single category across the board.  But the grace of God justifies us in his sight, not because of our works but because of his work on the cross.

In 2 Corinthians 12 the Lord tells Paul, “my grace is sufficient for you.”  In other words, there is nothing that the grace of God can’t overcome.  Whatever we face in our lives, his grace will always be enough to pull us through.  The Pharisee of the Pharisees became the greatest preacher of grace that the world has ever seen.

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