There are certain phrases in the Bible that, though I have grown up in the church, each time I read them they just seem to jump off the page at me. One of my favorites is in our reading today. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul starts by summarizing the simple gospel that Christ died for our sins and then rose from the dead. Paul then recounts that Jesus was seen by over 500 different “brethren” after his resurrection, attempting to confirm beyond any doubt to the Corinthians that Christ was indeed risen. He then recounts that “He was seen of me”, no doubt referring to his encounter with Christ on the Damascus Road.
But Paul is quick to mention that he doesn’t consider himself on par with the 12 apostles, but refers to himself as the “least of the apostles” because he persecuted the early church. He then takes the opportunity to give all the credit where credit was due, by saying “But by the grace of God I am what I am.” What a wonderful statement! Paul is saying the he is nothing without Christ and that the change that had taken place in his life was only because of God working in his life.
How many down through human history could echo those same words? I’m sure most of us have heard of the radio program “Unshackled” which chronicles stories of those often with dramatic testimonies of God’s life-changing grace. This program was started in 1950 and continues even to this day. How many drunks, prostitutes and drug addicts have experienced this supernatural work of God’s grace? I’m currently reading a book by Pastor Jim Cymbala of the Brooklyn Tabernacle which has many stories of dramatically changed lives in inner city NYC. On the other hand, but just as miraculous, we can see God’s grace at work as He saves a young child who surrenders to Him for the vast majority of their life and though not perfect, is spared a life of addiction and heartache as they live their life for God.
Consider your life today-where would you be without the work of God in your life? Think about that for a second. How different would your life be right now? How different would your relationships be? Your marriage? What sins would you be powerless to fight against? How many of us might not even be here today due to choices we would have made? All praise needs to go to God for His grace in our lives!