1Ti 1:12-14 “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.”
There are several important principles laid out for us here. Paul was thankful that he was in the ministry. If we have been deemed faithful to handle the word of God, we should be very thankful. Being a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ by word and deed is a privilege afforded us by His grace.
Paul was not only thankful, but he knew who to be thankful to. If we have been called to be ministers of the gospel, that is by the work and power of Jesus Christ. We do not owe thanks for that calling to any man or institution. Our ministry does not come to us because of our natural lineage or national origin.
No one has ever truly ministered the gospel of Jesus Christ by his own strength or determination. If we are ministers of the gospel, it is because Jesus has enabled us. He has strengthened us for the work He sets before us. It is not by our wish, but by His will.
Paul said he counted him faithful even though he had previously been a blasphemer and persecutor of the way of Jesus. We should carefully consider the meaning behind the word translated as “counted.” According to Strong’s, this word means “to lead, that is, command (with official authority); figuratively to deem, that is, consider.” Put into perspective of Paul’s writing here, it is not talking about our ability to lead or command.
Jesus counts us faithful in the same manner as He did Paul. Jesus leads us and commands us with official authority. By His leadership and command, we are deemed faithful. He does not deem us faithful because of our ability but rather because of His authority.
If we are truly in the His service (ministry), it is not because we one day decided on our own that it would be a good idea to follow Jesus. Paul said that Jesus put (moved, placed) him in the ministry. When we put something somewhere, it is because we have the power and the authority over that thing to do so. To truly serve Jesus Christ and His children, we must acknowledge that it is He that has put us into service.
By Paul’s language so far, we should realize that Paul did not one day just “wise up.” Paul was happily going his way in his ignorance and unbelief. He was not seeking any other way. Paul’s life of ministry was granted to him because he obtained mercy.
Our ability to minister is the direct result of God’s mercy in our lives. We are put into the ministry by His divine grace. Our worthiness is in Him and Him alone. Only through the work of the Holy Spirit do we obtain deliverance from our ignorance and out unbelief.
The grace of our Lord is exceeding abundant with faith and love. He is not miserly with His grace. He heaps faith and love upon us and counts us worthy to be His servants. This we find only in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
May we ever be amazed that He has counted us worthy and put us in the ministry!