How often do we fail to wonder at the grace of God in our lives? How different would our lives be if we truly did so.
That was one of the differences between the false teachers and Paul. The false teachers didn’t truly understand the grace of God. For them, the gospel was about making a buck. About prestige and honor for themselves. For Paul, the gospel was a marvel that changed his life, and made him want to share this good news of God’s grace with as many people as he could.
I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief.
The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. (12-14)
Here you can see Paul marveling at the grace God had shown him. That though he had once blasphemed Christ, persecuted His church, and was responsible for the murder of many of His people, yet God showed him mercy. More, God poured out his grace in such abundance that it more than covered Paul’s sins, as horrible as they were. And now, Paul had come to faith and was filled with a love he had never known before.
And because of this, he could say with confidence,
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. (15-16)
In short, Paul had truly come to realize, “Jesus died for me.”
It wasn’t that others needed to be saved, but Paul had been fine as he was. Instead, when Jesus appeared to Paul in that blinding light, Paul saw for the first time just how badly he needed mercy and grace in his life.
The problem with most people today, even Christians, is they can’t see that. They think they’re okay. Or at very least, think that they’re not that bad. “Sure Jesus died for me. But he had less to die for in my case.”
But as I’ve said before, it’s as we truly come close to Christ and step into his light, we see what a desperate state we are in. That we are completely stained with sin and in need of salvation. And until we understand that, we will never marvel at the grace of God in our lives.
Paul did realize it, and because he did so, he burst out into song, singing,
Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen. (17)
How about you? Do you marvel at the grace of God in your life?