By Brooke Holt
“For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy 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 was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.” - 1 Corinthians 15:9-11
The Corinthians could be a tough crowd! Though their lives were transformed by the preaching and teaching of the Apostle Paul, they could be quite arrogant in their thinking and judgmental of this man who poured himself out on their behalf. They were quick to say that Paul was not as spiritual as they were since he was not constantly speaking in tongues throughout worship. Paul was of pitiful physical stature. There was nothing overwhelmingly impressive to them about Paul, and so they assumed they were greater in their understanding and superior in their spirituality.
In quite a different fashion, Paul addressed them. He did not seek to overpower them with his experiences, his spirituality, or his wisdom. Instead, he wrote overwhelmingly about the grace of God in his life. Indeed, there was nothing of worth in Paul. He was a wretched man who zealously persecuted the church due to his ignorance and disbelief in Jesus Christ. Yet, the grace of Jesus Christ overcame Paul on the road to Damascus, and it was that grace that empowered Paul to preach, teach, and faithfully build the church. It was that grace that made Paul worthy to serve as their teacher and mentor in the faith.
The grace of God transformed Paul and compelled him to do great things for the Lord. It was all about what Paul received from the Lord and nothing about who Paul was in and of his own right. Grace upon grace. Paul would stand on grace alone, and it was that same grace that resulted in the conversion of the Corinthians. They, too, were now challenged and called to set aside their worldly standards, pride, and judgments and to see that they were just like Paul—sinners saved by grace.
Would they receive this truth and live into it? More importantly, will you receive this truth and live into it? There is nothing you have done and nothing you can do to earn God’s favor or grace. You, too, are a sinner who has been set free and saved by the transformative grace of Jesus Christ. May you humbly receive this gift today! We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
In our six-week small group Bible study on the book of 1 John, you are invited to live and celebrate true life in Christ. Throughout his first letter, John wrestles with the assurance of salvation. How do we know that we are genuine Christians, and how can we recognize authentic faith in others? The Apostle John taught that you can enjoy full assurance through believing in the incarnate Son of God, walking in the light of obedience, and loving God and his children. Embark on this study with us today!
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