Less than the Least

Saturday, Dec. 27

Eph. 3:8. “Although I am less than the least of all God’s people . . .” Paul also called himself the worst of all sinners in 1 Tim. 1:15. This is an astounding declaration. We think of Paul as one of the greatest saints of all time, perhaps the greatest evangelist in history. How could Paul demean himself in this way? Is he being overly modest? Is it hyperbole? Maybe—and maybe not! Paul explains his 1 Tim. comment in v. 13. He doesn’t mince words! “Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man . . .” The beginning of the church was one of the most crucial times in history and Paul was the most aggressive opponent of the fledgling church and was determined to destroy it. So a person could make a case for him being the least of all the saints or the worst sinner. The result of Paul’s self appraisal was an overwhelming appreciation of God’s mercy and grace. But the word “grace” is not enough: It was poured out abundantly . . . because of Christ’s love. Paul not only responded to grace by his words; he responded with action. He was obedient to his calling and thus became the great evangelist that we all admire.

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