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is the law of the sacred nation that and nothing else,” and now this Scribe destroyed the whole of this theory, took Jesus away from the sacred nation and brought Him to mankind.
All this he did, not through calculation nor yet capriciously, but in the full consciousness that he was called thereto by God. The consciousness of this call is very evident in all his letters, most of all in those to the Galatians and in the second to the Corinthians, where he has to meet the attacks of his adversaries. What a proud and defiant note is struck in the beginning of the letter to the Galatians : “ Paul, apostle, not by men nor through a man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead,” upon which follows the explanation : “When it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the heathen, immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood : neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me, but I went into Arabia.” The second epistle to the Corinthians, the greatest apology of the apostle, would almost have to be transcribed from beginning to end, so full is it of a divine self-consciousness which reaches its height in such expressions as these :-.
2 Cor. iii. 4-6. “ And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves : but our sufficiency is of God: who also hath made us able ministers of the New Testament, not of the letter, but of the spirit.”
2 Cor. iv. 6. “For God who commanded the light
to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
2 Cor. v. 18–20. “ And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation, to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, .. and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; we pray you in Christ's stead, that ye be reconciled to God.”
Declarations which attain a similar high level are to be found in 1 Thess. ii., 1 Cor. iv. 9-15, Rom. i. 15, and also in the Epistles to the Ephesians and Colossians. In all these passages St Paul draws no distinctions between the general calling of an apostle and the special calling of a missionary to the heathen, but shows himself prepared to receive both at once at God's hands : and it was just missionary to the heathen that God chose him to be.
The lofty expressions “ Workers together with God,” “ Fellow-workers unto the kingdom of God,” come down to us from St Paul. He did not reserve them for himself alone, but applied them to the other apostles as well; to none other, however, than these. The same enthusiasm which we noticed above in the sayings of Jesus concerning the beginning of the kingdom, can be read in these words. Like Jesus, too, it is God's word that he is going to declare: no one is to look upon it as man’s. Just as the power of God is contained in the Gospel unto the salvation of all them that believe, so St Paul feels himself to be the
man who transmits this power to others. He is the necessary link between the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus and the great mass of humanity. Employing rather the language of the lawyer, he calls himself a debtor to barbarians and to Greek, to wise and to foolish ; or again, using the expressions of ritual, a priest of Christ to the heathen in the sacred service of the Gospel of God. All these high attributes amount to the same thing in the end : his position as mediator between God, Christ and man.
The twelve apostles likewise looked upon themselves as mediators between Jesus and the congregations of Christians—i.e. as bearers of Jesus' word. St Paul, however, went further than this: he sacrificed his life, devoted his whole being to this work of mediation. He even went so far as to ascribe to all that he experienced—his sufferings, as well as the consolation they brought him—a salutary purpose
-a for the congregations; nor did he shrink from the bold thought of vicarious suffering. “I now rejoice in my sufferings for you and fill up that which is behind in the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for the Church." He often gives a somewhat different expression to his faith, saying that he must be offered up as a sacrifice for the congregations. Thereby his lofty and proud claim to be mediator on God's side is exchanged for the humble but rich calling of the ministry—servant to the congregations for Jesus' sake.
The apostle's self-consciousness has in fact limits which it never exceeds. Christ stands high above him. Indeed the distance between the Master and His fellow-missionary has already been considerably increased. Jesus is Lord—Paul is servant; Jesus sinless—Paul sinful and pardoned. He believes in Jesus Christ and cries to God through His mediatorship, prays at times to Him. Whereas there is no doubt that Jesus is already to be counted entirely on God's side, Paul reckons himself and all his fellowChristians in the churches among the men in need of salvation. Nor is he strictly subordinate to Jesus merely as Christian, but also as apostle. Jesus is Lord over the faith-St Paul is not. Jesus can lay down commandments. “ The Lord says,” so runs the formula of the Christian law. St Paul can only give advice. His words never have the legal authority of the Master's words. Even as apostle he has ever to remember that he as well as all other Christians will have to appear before the judgment-seat of Christ and there receive his sentence--according to his deserts either praise or else blame and punishment.
St Paul's likeness to Jesus strikes one at once, and at the same time the dissimilarity between the two is no less obvious. In the case of both there is a self-consciousness which goes far beyond all that one usually meets with ; there is the claim to have been chosen by God from out of the mass of mankind for an especial purpose; in both, again, there is nothing like fanaticism, but clear recognition of their limitations, and there is a deep humility before God. And yet the word “mediator' cannot be applied in the same sense to both. Whereas Jesus maintains that He knows God in an entirely new way—as the Son-Paul boasts of this knowledge of the glory of God which is reflected in the face of Jesus. He feels that he is not a creator; he merely transmits historical
facts. God—Christ-Paul, such is the order. He held this conviction so firmly that he did not forget it for one single moment during the whole of his life. That great word of his, “if only Christ be preached," which the captive apostle uttered at Rome in the midst of all manner of doubtful associates in his missionary labours, is sufficient proof of this. That was the ground of his energetic rejection of the thought of a Pauline party—it was something altogether abhorrent to him. “Has Paul been crucified for you ?” “Have ye been baptized in the name of Paul?” “Whether it be Paul, or Kephas, or Apollos, all is yours,
but ye are Christ's and Christ God's.” But if the question is asked how it comes about that Paul felt the distinction from Jesus so far more clearly than the apostles, then the answer is easy to find. He had not eaten and drunk with Jesus, he had not lived with Him for months. He knows only the risen Lord, that sitteth at the right hand of God—the heavenly Being. On the other hand, it must not be forgotten that this heavenly Jesus inspired him with greater courage and confidence of victory. Thus faithfully serving his heavenly king he can go forth out into the wide world more securely and under better protection, overcoming his enemies by land and by sea and winning victories. The greater the master, the greater the servant.
It was as apostle of this Jesus, sitting on the right hand of God, that St Paul founded the Gentile congregations, safeguarded their liberties at Jerusalem, withstood St Peter to the face at Antioch, drove the Judaizing party from the field, even if they appealed to the authority of one of the twelve, and dying as