Paul, an advocate for inclusion of the Gentiles, now finds himself going toe-to-toe with leaders who question his apostolic authority. He counters their accusations in a very personal way—by insisting his authority comes from Christ who met him at the margins with grace. Paul calls his accusers to look with him to the action of God in his life.
In the face of Paul’s murderous actions to destroy the Christian church, God moves with compassion. This remarkable grace transforms him and establishes the credibility of the gospel he preaches. Paul’s life, claimed by God’s grace, becomes a living testament to the extension of God’s grace to the Gentiles. Paul’s response to God’s compassionate heart supports his authority as an apostle.
The authority Paul claims for his gospel comes not from any human endorsement but from a deep connection with God. God included Paul, and now Paul becomes a messenger of inclusion. No demand for earthly credentials will undermine these divine credentials.
Will we be able to say with Paul, “They glorified God because of me”? Only if our gospel rests in a strong sense of being grasped by God, especially in our places of woundedness. When our words and actions destroy and hurt, can we allow God’s compassion to humble us and, in that humility, to include those the establishment would reject? If so, we, like Paul, will be messengers of grace who embody a divine authority whose love includes those on the margins.
May we fully realize that God does not marginalize us in our brokenness. This realization gives authority and credibility to our lived gospel.

Dear God, may we base our authority on you and your grace. Give us a gospel worth sharing. Amen.

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