From Saul to Paul

Most everyone who knows me, knows that I consider the Apostle Paul, the greatest of the apostles.
If you have read any of Paul’s epistles, you have likely formed a mental picture of him. But in reality, that picture differs greatly from his real life.
Take for instance the periods of time that he was imprisoned. I know that I had formed a mental image of the prisons he was in and even the houses where people lived in those times. 
All of these images were influenced by movies that I had seen and none of them were likely to be as grand and comfortable as imagined or depicted in movies.
During all that time, whether he was free, comfortable, warm and fed or in bonds, in chains, in the dark damp hole that is a more realistic description of his prison, he not only prayed for other Christians but he wrote letters of encouragement and instruction to the scattered churches.
He never laid down his mantle. He pushed on. And in chains and under the watchful eye of a guard 24 hours a day, circumstances that he could not change, he managed to preach the Gospel to the entire imperial guard. And he also recognized the fact that some of his Christian brothers had actually been encouraged and had gained confidence to share the Gospel more freely and without hesitation.

Sometime between  AD 61 and AD 64, while the Apostle Paul was writing his letters to the Ephesians, the Philippians, the Colossians, and Philemon, the Apostle John was writing the first of the three short books of John. And in that first book of John, chapter 1, vs. 7, John wrote, “But if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.”
Paul knew one thing for sure, that he had been cleansed by the blood of Jesus though he had never met Him, wasn’t there when He was crucified and in fact, didn’t become a believer for nearly 3 years after Jesus had ascended into heaven.
Paul was more concerned than anything else, that in his life and death that he would honor Christ. Earlier in his ministry, in about AD 53 he had written his letter to the church in Galatia and in chapter 2 vs. 19-20 or just vs. 20 depending on which version of the Bible you are reading, he wrote, “I have been crucified with Christ; and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me”.                                                  
He would finish the course and he did keep the faith.

And that should be the goal of each of us as we walk with our Savior and Lord, to be ready and willing to share the Gospel freely with everyone we meet.

“In Christo, In Pace, In Spe”
In Christ, In peace, In Hope
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