May 1, 2024

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BY HIS GRACE I AM WHAT I AM

IN THE DAYS OF HIS POWER SERIES.

TOPIC: BY HIS GRACE I AM WHAT I AM

COMPILED EDITED BY:-
Rev. Innocent Peace-Udochukwu
President Living Fountain Ministries Int’l LIFOM

“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.”
1Corinthians 15:10 KJV

What an accumulative and all inclusive affirmation Paul makes of God’s grace in his life, knowing his past unbelief and treatment to Jesus! Sensing his unworthiness to so much as be called an apostle, because he had so grievously persecuted the Lord’s people, he exclaims, “But by the grace of God I am what I am” (1 Cor 15:10). With Paul it is not a matter of “Who,” but of “What.” This neuter “what” singles out his changed character and accomplishments in Christ; though a nobody to some, he is God’s redeemed possession. This is what counts, and Paul is not bragging!

Webster’s Dictionary defines Grace as “Unmerited divine assistance given man for his regeneration or sanctification”. It also says that it is, “A virtue coming from God”.
You can’t work hard enough and earn grace.
You can’t be good enough for grace.
Grace is freely given to us by God.

From the human point of view, Paul should have never qualified to be an apostle of Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, he became such an outstanding apostle who did so much for the Gospel, more than all the other apostles in his time. In his first letter to the Corinthian church, he celebrated the grace of God upon his life (1 Corinthians 15:10), acknowledging that it was God’s grace that enabled him accomplish so much for Christ.

AS IS ISAIAH among the prophets, so is Paul among the apostles; each stands forth with singular prominence, raised up by God for a conspicuous purpose, and shining as a star of extraordinary brilliance. Isaiah spake more of Christ, and described more minutely his passion and his death than all the other prophets put together. Paul proclaimed the grace of God-free, full, sovereign, eternal race-beyond all the glorious company of the apostles.

Sometimes he soared to such amazing heights, or dived into such unsearchable depths, that even Peter could not follow him. He was ready to confess that “our beloved brother Paul, according to his wisdom given unto him,” had written “some things hard to be understood.”

Jude could write of the judgments of God, and reprove with terrible words, “ungodly men, who turned the grace of God into lasciviousness.” But he could not tell out the purpose of grace as it was planned in the eternal mind, or the experience or grace as it is felt and realized in the human heart, like Paul.

There is James again: he, as a faithful minister, could deal very closely with the practical evidences of Christian character. And yet he seems to keep very much on the surface; he does not bore down deep into the substratum on which must rest the visible soil of all spiritual graces.

Even John, most favoured of all those apostles who were companions of our Lord on earth-sweetly as the beloved disciple writes of fellowship with the Father and his Son Jesus Christ-even John doth not speak of grace so richly as Paul, “in whom God first showed forth all long-suffering as a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.”

Not, indeed, that we are at any liberty to prefer one apostle above another. We may not divide the Church, saying, I am of Paul, I of Peter, I of Apollos; but we may acknowledge the instrument which God was pleased to use; we may admire the way in which the Holy Ghost fitted him for his work; we may, with the churches of Judea, “glorify God in Paul.” Among the early fathers

Augustine was singled out as the “Doctor of Grace;” so much did he delight in those doctrines that exhibit the freeness of divine favour. And surely we might affirm the like of Paul. Among his compeers he outstripped them all in declaring the grace that bringeth salavation. The sense of grace pervaded all his thoughts as the life blood circulates through all the veins of one’ body. Does he speak of conversion, “he was called by grace.” Nay, he sees grace going before his conversion, and “separating him from his mother’s womb.” He attributes all his ministry to grace. “To me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.” See him at any time, and under any circumstances, whether bowed down with infirmity, or lifted to the third heavens with revelation, he has but one account to give of himself, “By the grace of God I am what I am.”

There are no ministers who contend so fully and so unflinchingly for free, sovereign, unconditional grace, as those who before their conversion have revelled in gross and outrageous sin.

Your gentleman preachers who have been piously brought up, and sent from their cradle to school, from school to college, and from college to the pulpit, without encountering much temptation, or being rescued from the haunts of profanity-they know comparatively little, and speak with little emphasis of free grace.

It is a Bunyan who breathed curses, a Newton who was a ver monster in sin; it is the like of these, who cannot forget for one hour of their lives afterwards, the grace that snatched them from the pit, and plucked them as brands from the burning.

Strange indeed that God should have it so. The providence is inscrutable that permits some of the Lord’s chosen people to wander and rove as far as sheep can stray. Such men, however, make the most valiant champions for that grace which only can rescue any sinner from eternal woe.

This reminds me of Gideon’s encounter with the Angel of the Lord in Judges 6. The Angel appeared to him and said, “…The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor…Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites…” (Judges 6:12-14). Gideon, assessing himself from the natural standpoint, didn’t believe he was a mighty man of valour. After all, he was the least in his family, which hailed from the poorest clan in one of the lesser-known tribes of Israel! (Judges 6:15). All Gideon needed was to believe God’s Word and be confident in His grace upon his life. That made all the difference, and God mightily used him to deliver Israel from the Midianites.

The way we continually talk about our own inabilities is an insult to our Creator. To complain over our incompetence is to accuse God falsely of having overlooked us.

Get into the habit of examining from God’s perspective those things that sound so humble to men. You will be amazed at how unbelievably inappropriate and disrespectful they are to Him. We say things such as, “Oh, I shouldn’t claim to be sanctified; I’m not a saint.” But to say that before God means, “No, Lord, it is impossible for You to save and sanctify me; there are opportunities I have not had and so many imperfections in my brain and body; no, Lord, it isn’t possible.” That may sound wonderfully humble to others, but before God it is an attitude of defiance.

Conversely, the things that sound humble before God may sound exactly the opposite to people. To say, “Thank God, I know I am saved and sanctified,” is in God’s eyes the purest expression of humility. It means you have so completely surrendered yourself to God that you know He is true. Never worry about whether what you say sounds humble before others or not. But always be humble before God, and allow Him to be your all in all.

There is only one relationship that really matters, and that is your personal relationship to your personal Redeemer and Lord. If you maintain that at all costs, letting everything else go, God will fulfill His purpose through your life. One individual life may be of priceless value to God’s purposes, and yours may be that life.

Like Gideon, the Lord might have impressed it on your heart to do something that seems well beyond you, and you feel you don’t have what it takes. Stop looking at your inadequacies; begin to trust instead in God’s ability and walk in the consciousness of His grace. That’s all you need, and that’s all it takes to accomplish notable feats to the glory of God.

Go Deeper: 2 Corinthians 12:9, Ephesians 3:20, Romans 5:17

Speak

Dear Father, thank you for blessing me so richly with your Word; I acknowledge that your grace is at work in me, and I take advantage of it in advancing your Kingdom through my role as your partner in soul-winning, in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Act

Take a few minutes to meditate on the grace of God. Think about all that you can achieve through His grace—anything and everything! Take action to keep your dream alive and let nothing stop you!

SHALOM!

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