By the Will of God

“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus our brother,”

Colossians 1:1

Paul had the authority given him by Jesus Christ to declare that he was speaking on behalf of God when he would preach or write to the first century church. However, we find that he not only does not abuse that authority, he often calls himself a servant (bondservant/slave) instead. To the Colossians, Paul does invoke his title of Apostle, but when he does, he adds a very important phrase that would behoove all those who claim to be preachers to examine closely:

“by the will of God”

Quite often men feel like they are called to preach because they enjoy speaking to groups of people and are pretty good at it. However, that call to preach may not be from God. There must also be an understanding that the preacher’s will does not matter when it comes to subject, location, or audience. Philip preached to one man in the desert. Paul preached to a group of women at a riverside prayer meeting. Peter went to a Gentile he had never met. And again, Paul preached while in prison, several times!

In none of these examples do we find that the preacher required a certain location, a minimum size for audience, and certainly not advance payment. The gospel is not for sale!

It would seem to me that a message preached by a man according to his own will about how men can save themselves by their own will is completely foreign to Biblical teaching. Paul was an Apostle by the will of God, and he continually preached about the “good pleasure of God’s will” in salvation by grace alone!

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