Years ago, while first coming into revelations of New Covenant Grace, I sensed the Holy Spirit firmly directing me to, "Preach the message that Paul preached!" Paul has always been one of my "faith heroes" but I guess I didn't exactly realize just how important Paul was to the move of Christianity back in the day. Without Paul's ministry it is very possible that today the Church would still be mixing and living a message of law and grace. Of course, grace is so important to God's plan for mankind that I'm certain He would have raised someone else up to carry out His plan for the Early Church, but thankfully He didn't have to as Paul was willing to step up to the plate!
We must understand that in the early days of the Church the direction was to continue with Jewish traditions and just add Jesus to them. At first Christianity was headed to be just another "Jewish thing!" However, God had other plans in mind when He knocked Paul (Saul) off his horse on the Damascus Road! Shortly after Paul's conversion he did some early ministry to the Church and was not trusted due to his early days of persecuting the Church prior to the Damascus Road encounter. Later he was led by the Spirit into the wilderness of Arabia and there spent 3 years meeting with Jesus where he was instructed on the wonderful ingredients of the New Covenant. Paul speaks of all of this in Galatians chapter 1. He also states that his message did not come from any man, rather it came as direct revelation from Jesus Himself! Paul later calls his message/teaching, "The Word of God!"
Now can you even begin to imagine the faith and tenacity Paul must have had to go back to Jerusalem and tell the Brothers there about the New Covenant. For example, that the Law (yes, even the Big 10) were no longer in force, that Christ ended (fulfilled) the Law at the cross. What a big thing that must have been! Here Peter, James and the Brethren, Jews at heart, were told that the Ten Commandments were now instruments of condemnation and death and were no longer in force! Wow! Paul had guts, that's for sure! I can imagine the Leaders saying to Paul, "Are you nuts?" "Where did you come up with this stuff?" might have been asked! Then Paul said, "Jesus taught this to me for 3 years in Arabia!" The response could have been, "Sure He did! (wink, wink!)"
Paul totally upset the spiritual apple cart of the day. And....you know what's funny (not really funny, but sad) is that he still is stirring up trouble in the Church as so many in Today's Church do not have the slightest idea of what Paul is talking about in his letters as a mixture message of law and grace is still the prevalent message of the Church!
Yep, as far as I'm concerned, Paul deserves a medal! He remains my hero and I'm doing my best to preach and teach the message that he preached and taught!
Grace and peace!