In Matt Chandler's message from the Gospel Coalition Conference entitled "Youth" (Eccelsiastes 11:7-12:14), he provided a compelling summary of how Paul lived out the gospel. He explained the connection between Paul's freedom and his suffering; his view of circumstances through the lens of gospel effect. Here are a few of his best thoughts:
On the connection between Paul's message and pain:
"Everyone loves Pauline theology, but nobody wants Pauline pain. You want that deep girth? That's paid for, man! And it's not paid for in study! It is paid for in pain."
On Paul's freedom from circumstances from Phil 1:12-17:
I've never met a man that is as free as Paul is; you can't touch him!If you tell him, "I'm going to kill you."Paul would say, "All right, it is time to go home!"If you say, "Alright, we're going to let you live.""Alright, to live is Christ!""Okay, we are going to beat you.""You know how it is...that is sharing in the sufferings of Christ; I welcome that.""We'll put you in prison.""I'll convert your guards and most of your prisoners."Paul was just just an untouchable man. How do you get untouchable like that? You keep going back to the gospel over and over again. Everything drives the gospel forward.