A great challenging question was asked in this week’s Gospel Advocate, adult class Foundations Bible study book (Galatians, Paul’s Credentials, Lesson 2, p. 29):
“How can we show God’s call of Paul did not remove his freedom?“
The context of the question is based on the larger scripture passage of Galatians 1:11-24 but it probably finds its more narrow scope from Galatians 1:15 which says, “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace,“.
As you’re probably aware of, the doctrine of God’s grace and humanity’s free-will is very much opposite from the doctrine of God’s grace and it being “irresistible” to the soul of mankind. So, how would you use the provided scripture context to answer such a question? If you would like to, you can provide additional scripture references that enhance the underlying point Paul was making. I’m looking forward to reading any suggestions.
I have some answers for your consideration as well. I’ll place them after the “read more” tag so they do not influence your thought process.
- A guiding goad is not a chain that unwillingly drags (Acts 9:5). As can be seen with all of humanity, God’s guidance can be resisted, but the resistance comes at a great cost. God desires all to come repentance and he encourages it through his acts of grace upon our life (2 Peter 3:9, Romans 2:4, Matthew 5:45).
- The revelation provided to Paul (Galatians 1:12) produced an understanding and grateful attitude that caused him to freely reveal Jesus in his life to the benefit of others (Galatians 1:16).
- Paul believed his calling was his calling. In other words – it was personal. It involved him on an individual level. And a personal calling cannot be a personal calling unless the called individual is individually and personally invested. This was the same mentality that all the churches in Galatia were to have because the same grace that called Paul to his salvation had called them to their salvation (Galatians 1:3-6).