We need not enter here at any length into any of the arguments regarding apostleship, and who exactly compose the group of twelve.  We know that Judas Iscariot by transgression fell from his office, and in Acts 1 the lot was cast which fell upon Matthias, who was numbered with the eleven.  Some have said that the disciples acted without the direction of their Lord in this matter, and should have waited till Christ Himself personally added a twelfth to replace fallen Judas.  This is a position I have difficulty accepting, as there is nothing in the text to indicate that this lot did not receive the Lord’s full approbation.  Some prefer to think that Matthias was a temporary appointment until Christ would appoint His twelfth delegate personally.  Yet others seem to think that Paul was something of an auxiliary appointment, having been designed to go specifically to the Gentiles.  Personally, I have no established opinion as to who the name of the twelfth apostle on the foundation of the heavenly city is, whether Matthias or Paul (Revelation 21:14).  I will only go so far as to say that there can be no question that Paul was a true apostle, personally called and commissioned by the Lord Christ Himself for the purpose of propagating the Gospel throughout the Gentile world.  We find in Paul’s writings, particularly Galatians and 2nd Corinthians, that his apostleship was questioned by many of the Judaizers in the early church.  His defense of his genuine apostleship is so strong that none but the basest heretics (of which our age contains a surplus) should deny it.

3912_Romans.jpgHaving been called to be an apostle, it should be little wonder that Paul should consider himself as “separated unto the gospel of God.”  This, in fact, should in general be the attitude of all Christians, who have been called by grace to serve their Lord with reverence and godly fear.  More specifically, it should be the spirit of every man who has been called to serve in the public ministry of the church.  We are separated from the body of believers to the great and sobering responsibility of handling the oracles of God, and teaching the Lord’s sheep His gospel and His will for their lives.  Paul well remembered how that the Lord Jesus had called him out of darkness, smitten him with blindness and then opened his eyes, and commissioned him to go everywhere preaching the news that Jesus is Christ.  He had, no doubt, been appointed by the churches to various tasks, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, but Paul considered his calling first and foremost to come from God Himself.  And every Christian pastor, though appointed and ordained to that office by a particular church, should consider that the church itself acts with the very authority of Christ, and our separation to our office comes from the very highest authority in heaven and in earth.