Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | May 21, 2020

“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain”

Today’s devotion comes from 1 Corinthians 15:6-11.

“After that He (Christ) appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep;  then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles;  and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.  For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.  But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain;  but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.  Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.”  1 Corinthians 15:6-11.

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Today’s Scripture leads us to meditate what the grace of God does for us.

By the grace of God, we are saved.  

“For by grace you have been saved through faith;  and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;  not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”  Ephesians 2:8-9.

By the grace of God, we also receive our condition, with all of what we may have considered the good and the bad (our “baggage” that we carry through life, so to speak).  

Paul stated:  “For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.  But by the grace of God I am what I am”.  Verses 9-10.

By the grace of God, we also receive spiritual gifts to build up the church of God.

“For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think;  but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.  For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.  Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly:  if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith;  if service, in his serving;  or he who teaches, in his teaching;  or he who exhorts, in his exhortation;  he who gives, with liberality;  he who leads, with diligence;  he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.”  Romans 12:3-7.

“But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.  …

And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;  until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”  Ephesians 4:7 and 11-13.

But, there was hope for Paul!

“and His grace toward me did not prove vain;  but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.”  Verse 10.

Even the baggage that Paul carried through his life (that he at one time persecuted the church of God) was used by the grace of God to cause Paul to labor for the church of God even more than all of them!

And, there is also hope for us!

God’s grace to us also does not prove vain.

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”  Romans 8:28.

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”  Ephesians 2:10.

“for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.”  Philippians 2:13.

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 1:6.

“Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”  Psalm 23:6.


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