3:8 "To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ;10 to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, 11 according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him. 13 Therefore I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you, which is your glory."
Our past has a way of cutting us down to size. Saul the Christian killer is now Paul the Good News proclaimer but he has not forgotten his past. That is why he often makes statements like the one in verse 8 that he is the least of all the saints. It is healthy to remember the pit Jesus has pulled us out of. It is not healthy to allow your past to determine, control, or ruin your future. Paul does not remember or bring up his past as a pity party or some kind of self bashing. Rather it is to magnify the unsearchable riches of Christ, the love of God. He is declaring to the Uncircumcised who have been told by the Jews for centuries that they have no hope and no worth: "If God can do what He has done for me how much more can He do it for you!"
Since the beginning humanity has been blind to the Truth. Religion was always seen as something we do for Him. Our hope, if we had any, was in our ability to win His favour. The reality that God was always on our side and that "our" included the entire human race was a mystery that was not revealed until Jesus came. So blind, so unaware were we of the mystery of His mercy and grace that we argued with Him. His own family and disciples questioned His sanity. They stood at times in shocked silence at His disregard for gender, for borders, for nationalities, for social class.
Paul is saying "Look at me! I am evidence of His great riches of mercy. He has not only accepted me in the Beloved but opened my mouth to speak His praises. He has sent me to you to let you know His riches extend to you also and far beyond."
Tomorrow we will go deeper as we explore the role of the church in verse 10. Unbelievable!