But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. ~1 Corinthians 15:10
Without question, the Apostle Paul was the greatest Christian of the first century. He could not get over the day when the Lord knocked him off his horse and saved him as he was on the road to Damascus. From that moment forward, Paul’s purpose and priority in life took a dramatic change. He could not have dreamed or manuscripted the unfolding of his journey of faith in the Lord. He laid the groundwork for church planting and church growth. If you include the Book of Hebrews, Paul wrote 14 of the New Testament epistles. However, his greatness is explained in two words: God’s grace. This morning, let us consider how God’s grace is the secret to Paul’s accomplishments.
We see the MARVEL of grace.
“But by the grace of God I am what I am…” Paul knew what kind of man he was before he was saved. He was proud, egotistical, hateful, and consumed with one agenda: to wipe out Christianity. As he submitted himself to God without reservation, he saw hardened Jews and soul-thirsty Gentiles accept Christ as Savior. He went from being hateful to being loving. He went from being filled with a vendetta to being filled with the Spirit. He went great lengths to take the gospel where no man had taken it. He saw God’s power work through him in seeing cities reached with the gospel and men who surrendered their lives to likewise win souls and start churches. Paul knew that whatever greatness he had was solely because of God’s grace. Let us never forget that the measure of grace bestowed upon us is a stewardship from God for Him to use us extensively for His glory.
We see the MINISTRY of grace.
“…and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain…” Paul lived his life for the glory of God and the advancement of God’s kingdom. His commitment to Christ demonstrated that God’s grace was not wasted in him. It was grace that compelled him to use his spiritual gifts beyond capacity. It was grace that enabled him to have longsuffering with those who opposed him. It was grace that strengthened him after he was scourged and thrown into a Philippian jail. It was grace made perfect in his infirmity of the flesh. If there was ever a testimony of the work of grace in a Christian who had it tough, it was Paul. Let us never shortchange the grace of God from being our source of strength when we are weak and in over our heads.
We see the MOTIVATION in grace.
“…but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” Paul’s great motivator for the exploits he did, the endeavors he accomplished, and the determination which drove him was God’s grace. He said he labored more abundantly than they all. Grace gave him a love for sinners and saints that drove him to great extremes. Grace compelled him to pray more than his fellow apostles. Grace moved him to stay at winning souls and starting churches even though the pushback was intense. It was grace that moved him to say, “None of these things move me.” He was strong in the grace of our Lord Jesus. Most of us quit too easily. Most of us let difficulties discourage us from doing more. Most of us allow personality conflicts to lessen our service for the Lord. We need to allow God’s grace to do a mighty work in and through us.
I’m thankful for saving grace, serving grace, and sustaining grace. However, let’s all let the Lord do more with us through saturating grace. Let God’s grace control us so that our testimony will be like Paul’s, and more can be accomplished for the Lord’s glory.
Have a grace-filled God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: 1 Samuel 13-14