Paul made many statements which revealed what grace could do with a man. Notice, Paul had no ill motives in having a large following but rather he said, “I beseech you”-meaning “on bended knee I beg you not to live in the pride of your life in the independence of Adam’s rebellion. I want you to observe what the Spirit of grace has done in me and follow it. My afflictions are for your sake. When I am cast into the deep, it is to reveal to you what you can be when you are cast into the deep. He goes before his people as a shepherd.”
Paul said many things about himself, but they were not boastful, idle words. They were words said while he was standing in the assurance of who he was in Christ. Over and over again, this principle is seen in the Word of God. God uses people to show us our possibilities through Christ. Paul’s life is a model of our Christianity. There is a difference between Jesus as our example and Paul as one we follow (1 Corinthians 11:1). Both do we follow, but notice the difference-Jesus never sinned, but we do. Jesus was and is grace and truth, so consequently He never had to receive these things. Paul needed to receive grace and truth, and so do we. Paul is our model because of his ability to let grace constrain him and build him up into the image of Christ despite his weaknesses. Jesus is the One we look unto, and Paul is our pattern as how to press toward that goal.