~ Guest Post by Cecil May III ~
But by the grace of God, I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:10
1 Corinthians 15:10 mentions the word “grace” three times–a triple dose of grace.
Grace Makes Me
Paul had been a persecutor of the church. He was a violent man. He was the chief of sinners. He was lost. That is what he was. But as he writes his letter to the church at Corinth that is not what he is. He is saved. He is cleansed of all sin. He is a sufferer of violence on behalf of the gospel. He is the great missionary of the church. Yet Paul did not pull himself up by his own bootstraps to salvation and service. He is saved by grace and gifted by God with a place of ministry.
Likewise, any of us who know cleansing, salvation, and a place of service in God’s kingdom know that, “by the grace of God, I am what I am.” Grace makes me.
Grace Motivates Me
The grace Paul received moved him to action. Paul had his critics, but none of his critics would dare put their work history up against his. He had worked harder than any of them. None had traveled as extensively or dangerously. None had been beaten with more clubs, stoned by greater crowds, or could show more stripe marks on their back from the whip. None had preached more fervently or prayed harder for the churches. Yet, Paul’s motivation was not what he might get, but what he had already received in reality and in assurance.
Have you ever received a gift that you neither appreciated nor put to use? God gave his only Son. Rather than be received in vain, God’s action should move us to action. Grace motivates me.
Grace Empowers Me
Paul would not take credit for his salvation, nor for his hard work that the gift of salvation motivated him to do. If Paul accomplished anything, it was only through Christ who strengthened him. Any good thing that came from Paul was credited to the grace of God that was within him.
When there is good to be done, if we think we can’t, by Christ we can. If we think it impossible, with God it is possible. If we think we are too weak, pray that you be strengthened by the Spirit in the inner person. As a people crucified with Christ and raised with Christ, whatever good we do is not us, but Christ living in us.
It is all of grace.