“I am grateful to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because he judged me faithful and appointed me to his service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a man of violence. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the foremost. But for that very reason I received mercy, so that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display the utmost patience, making me an example to those who would come to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” (I Timothy 1:12-17)
I do not know if Paul is the worst, the foremost, among sinners. But I am not sure anyone else would want to claim that distinction. I know I would not, and I would not place that upon you beloved reader.
Saul (who would become Paul) was on the road to Damascus. And in a blinding flash, quite literally, everything changed. God saw something in Saul/Paul that no one, human, at that time could see. We do not know what God’s plan and purpose is. Sometimes we are not even sure what it was after the fact. That is why we should never presume or assume anything about anyone with out taking into account what God might see that we do not. Grace and mercy can do anything and everything. I think Paul would say the same thing. And what ever differences I might have with Paul, I cannot speak against his devotion to God and Jesus Christ, nor the impact he has made and continues to make on the Christian world. So I give to Paul all that he would claim for himself, and thank God that the Divine took Saul and turned him into Paul! Shalom!