Untimely Born

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“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16: 11)

The Basket Case Chronicles #177

And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed” (1 Cor. 15:8–11).

Here we have one of those brief autobiographical snippets that we find in Paul’s letters from time to time. Paul acknowledges that his vision of the resurrected Lord was an untimely one. For one thing, it occurred after the Ascension. Paul is not ashamed to say as far as the other apostles were concerned, he brought up the rear. He was the least of the apostles, and he knows that he did not deserve to be numbered among them because he had been a persecutor of the church of God.

Nevertheless, God’s grace had reached him, and he could confess that this was just the way it was. The grace that God had bestowed on him was not a fruitless grace, but Paul had wound up doing more than all the rest. If the other apostles had begun running when the starter’s pistol went off, Paul didn’t start running until much later. Nevertheless, he started running eventually, and he passed the others up. At the same time, Paul is careful to note that this was not his doing—had it been left up to him, he would have been still persecuting the church. The reason he was able to do this is that the grace of God given to him enabled it. But, whoever it was, the other apostles or Paul, they all preached the same message, and the Corinthians had all believed this message.

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