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1 Corinthians 15:10-11

Renewed by Grace

10 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. 11 Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.

Paul considered himself to be the least of the apostles, an abortive, not worthy of his calling (15:8-9). However, there was no denying that he had changed and that he had accomplished some great things for the Lord. His answer to that is, "But by the grace of God I am what I am." He had not become this great evangelist due to any qualities that could be found within himself. He was changed undeservedly by the power of God working within him.

"...and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain;" Has God ever done anything that was in vain? He is not capable of failing. Nevertheless, there are those who hold that we have the free will to oppose God's grace and that Paul could have rejected his calling. The credit then would go to Paul for responding to the grace which was bestowed upon him. That, however, is completely contrary to what Paul was saying, as that which follows will prove.

"...but I labored more abundantly than them all:" The Greek word for "labored" literally means, "to feel fatigue," and then by implication, "to work hard and to the point of exhaustion." There could be no doubt that Paul had done more than almost any other apostle or follower of Christ. He had suffered hunger, stoning, arrest, imprisonment, beatings etc. all for the single purpose of spreading the gospel.

"...yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me." He took no credit for any of it. It was the grace of God that spurred him on. It was the grace of God that gave him the ability to preach and to suffer whatever was necessary to accomplish the will of God. Too often we forget where our faith, our strength, our works and our accomplishments come from. Pride wants to make us claim them all for ourselves. But, without the grace of God, none of those things would be even remotely possible. Man is but a worm and will accomplish nothing with eternal value more than a worm could, except for the grace of God.

"Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach,.." It did not matter who preached the gospel. Whether it was preached by Paul or by the other apostles, it was preached by the grace of God. None of them could boast, no one could claim credit. They all preached the word of God under the same divine influence. It is the gospel message, given by the grace of God, that is the power of God unto salvation.

"...and so ye believed." Some Christians actually think that they are better than unbelievers because they had the sense to trust their lives to Jesus Christ. What nonsense! We have nothing to do with our own salvation. Paul has clearly said, "and so (i.e. by the grace of God) ye believed."

"As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none that understandeth, There is none that seeketh after God; They have all turned aside, they are together become unprofitable; There is none that doeth good, no, not so much as one:" (Romans 3:10-12) Who, then, can claim the credit for their own salvation, for the change that God has wrought in their heart, for their labor in the ministry or for the fruit of their labor. It is all by the grace of God.

Before The Throne:

Cast your pride at the feet of Jesus. Confess those feelings and humble yourself in His presence. You are what you are by His grace, Thank Him for that. Your ministry is by Him, of Him and for Him. Praise Him for that. He is working in you every moment and will complete the work that He has begun. Fall down before Him today and worship Him in spirit and in truth.

For Further Study:

** by. 1Cor 4:7; Rom 11:1, 5-6; Eph 2:7-8; Eph 3:7- 8; 1Tim 1:15-16; ** his grace. 1Cor 15:2; 2Cor 6:1; ** but I. Rom 15:17-20; 2Cor 10:12-16; 2Cor 11:23-30; 2Cor 12:11; ** yet. Matt 10:20; 2Cor 3:5; Gal 2:8; Eph 3:7; Phil 2:13; Phil 4:13; Col 1:28-29;

(v.11) ** 1Cor 2:2;


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