Paul’s Apostleship was not appointed by or through man, but was appointed and empowered by God. In fact none of the Disciples were accomplished theologians who had proven themselves to man, but were everyday men called and empowered by Jesus to fulfill their call. This is a huge concept the church is missing today. In today’s society of display of diplomas and self-accomplishments, we tend to hold on to “the paper” as our empowerment to do what we are called to do. However, by holding on to man’s approval as our worth and ability we are helpless in accomplishing anything in the spirit realm because we hold up man’s approval higher then God’s empowerment. Today Paul would not have been recognized as a great teacher of the word because he did not have a PhD from a school of theology, and yet he wrote most of the New Testament.
Colossians 1:1-2 “1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, 2 To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are in Colosse: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ”
In verse one Paul acknowledges his apostleship is by the will of God and not by the appointment of man. In short Paul is stating that his apostleship was not a result of his graduation from a Jewish seminary and the diploma given to him by man. It is important to understand that none of the Disciples of Jesus who later became Apostles followed Jesus on their own desire or in the accepted way of the Jewish Pharisee, they were chosen by Jesus because of their heart and from the common Jew not a religious Levi. This in itself is contrary to the development of the typical Disciple back in the Jewish culture. Prior to and during the days of Jesus, all male children born into the house of Israel were educated with the books of Moses. All Jewish men had an understanding of the Law of Moses, but only the descendants of the tribe of Levi were given the opportunity to attempt to move into the position of a disciple of a Rabbi. A Rabbi is the same as a religion professor in today’s standards. If a young man began to show a level of acceleration in his elementary education, and if his parents could afford to allow him to continue to go further with his education instead of work with the family his journey began into the priesthood. After additional years of education under the Pharisees in the city a young boy would approach one of the Rabbis’ who he wanted to emulate and ask to be one of his followers. Only the best students could follow one of the leaders of the Pharisees. Only then after an undetermined period of scrutiny from the Rabbi, if the young man proved to be an acceptable student then he was given the title of Disciple.
When Jesus began His ministry He did something contrary to the “old school” way of developing disciples. Instead of waiting for a man to prove themselves to Him, He went out to a small fishing village to find men who had an elementary level of Jewish education in the Law of Moses. He did not choose men who were from the tribe of Levi nor were they striving to be Pharisees. Jesus, being fully God and filled with the Holy Spirit was able to see their hearts and chose these men out of the “common class” not from the religious sector. Disciples of Christ were chosen for their heart’s desire to walk in the knowledge they had, not because they wanted to become a man of importance like the Pharisee’s. These Disciples of Christ were given the titles of Apostle only after they were filled with the Holy Spirit. A true Apostle is a person that is sent out to spread the gospel and plant churches. Paul was clearly stating that he was chosen by God specifically to go into the Gentiles to preach the gospel whereas Jesus’ Disciples stayed with the Jewish people to spread the Gospel.
2 “To the saints and faithful brethren” Remember that according to the word of God all who believe that Jesus is Lord and Savior are considered to be saints which is actually short for sanctified. We are sanctified, or “set apart” from the rest of the world through faith in Jesus as our Lord. The use of the term “Saint” given to a man or woman for their service to the church was started by the Catholic Church three centuries after Jesus rose from the grave; biblically there is no such individual recognition. To be a child of God is the single highest honor anyone can have and all followers of Jesus are considered saints. Also notice Paul adds “and faithful” brethren in verse two. He is not proclaiming two types of people, but rather giving qualification to the term “saints”. Just attending a church does not make you “sanctified” in the eyes of God. It takes faithfulness in the gospel of Jesus Christ as found in the word of God and belief and confession of Him as your Lord and Savior. Your belief in Jesus as Lord and Savior is what makes you a saint – sanctified unto God.
2: Grace and peace from God, unfortunately is not a part of every believer’s life. Even though they are gifts from God and Jesus, and it’s their desire that all of God’s children walk in grace and peace; most Christians fall short of where they could be. Grace and peace are directly proportional to the amount of knowledge and understanding a Christian has of “the gospel” of Jesus’ perfect work on the cross. Notice I said knowledge “and” understanding. Just being a bible scholar will not bring you the peace of God that He desires us to walk in, even if you understand they are gifts from God given to His children. Grace and peace are much like faith in that unless it comes from within your heart fueled by your understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ, it will leave you short in times of pressure. Studying the word of God is not a point system and will not bring you any closer to Him by doing so. You cannot get any closer to God than Him living in you, but you can increase your knowledge and understanding thereby heightening your awareness of His presence already in your life.
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