“Nevertheless, brethren, I have written more boldly to you on some points, as reminding you, because of the grace given to me by God, that I might be a minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering of the Gentiles might be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, I have reason to glory in Christ Jesus in the things which pertain to God” (Romans 15:15-17).
Every child of God is a minister (Ephesians 4:15-16) and priest (1 Peter 2:5, 9). In God’s gracious purposes for His apostle born out of due season, Paul was a minister of Jesus Christ and a priest called to focus His efforts on preaching the gospel to the Gentiles.
Paul was specifically chosen by Christ to go to the Gentiles “to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:18). At his conversion, Jesus recognized him as His chosen vessel (Acts 9:15).
To fulfill Christ’s gracious assignment, this former blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent man (1 Timothy 1:13) would have to suffer many things for Christ’s name (Acts 9:16). This he did.
By the time he had written the book of Romans, Paul had been beaten five times by the Jews and three times by the Gentiles, stoned once, and shipwrecked three times. He had been in journeys often and in countless perilous situations. He had toiled tirelessly, been sleepless often, experienced a lack of food, water, and covering, fasted often, and was burdened daily by his deep concern for all the churches (2 Corinthians 11:24-28). For years he had lived with relentless pain and physical weakness—a thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12:7).
Yet, in all of this, Christ’s grace had been sufficient for him (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Clearly, God’s grace is not seen in how much easier life gets after you become a Christian. Rather, God’s grace is manifested in how much greater your responsibilities are and how many spiritual victories you can win when your duties are most difficult and challenging.