I Corinthians 15:8-10 — A grace that is not without effect

How do you see yourself?

It’s very striking to see how Paul saw himself.  After Saul met Christ, he changed his name to “Paul” which means “little.”

Here he had been this Hebrew of Hebrews, a Pharisee, a man full of himself, proud of who he was and where he had come from.  But when he met Christ, he was humbled.  He saw that instead of serving God, he had been persecuting him.  He saw that instead of being a righteous man in the eyes of God, he was a murderer.

He calls himself in this passage a man who was “abnormally born.”  The idea was a baby who had miscarried or was stillborn.

Because of his past, he called himself the least of the apostles, and said he wasn’t even worthy to be numbered among them.

You may feel the same way about yourself.  Like a nothing.  Like a person who would have been better off never being born.

But Paul goes on to say,

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect.  (10)

What is Paul saying?  I think he’s saying, number one, that despite his past, God had accepted him as he was.  And second, God’s grace was changing him and would continue to change him throughout the rest of his life.

And that’s what we need to remember.  No matter your past, no matter who you are right now at this very moment, God accepts you as you are.  Dirt, blemishes, and all, he has accepted you.  But by his grace, he won’t leave you where you are, he will clean you up and make you all that he created you to be.

So how do we respond?  With gratitude and humility.  Paul writes,

I worked harder than all of [the other apostles] –yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.  (10)

Because of his gratitude toward God, it drove him to serve God with all his heart.  But even then, there was no pride in all that he accomplished for God.  Rather, he realized the fact that God used him at all was a sign of God’s grace.  God could have accomplished all his purposes without Paul.  And yet God chose to use him, broken and stained vessel as he was, for His glory.

How about you?  How do you see yourself?  Can you say as Paul did,

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect.  (10)

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About bkshiroma

I'm from Hawaii, but have been in Japan as a missionary/English teacher since 1995. I'm currently going to a church called Crossroad Nishinomiya, an international church in Nishinomiya, a city right between Kobe and Osaka. Check out their website: crossroad-web.com 私がハワイから来ましたけど1995年に宣教師と英会話の教師として日本に引っ越しました。 今西宮にあるクロスロード西宮という国際の教会に行っています。どうぞ、そのホムページを見てください: crossroad-web.com
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