“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time… Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. 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 15:3-11
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8-10
“I thank… Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy… and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy.., that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe.” 1 Timothy 1:12-16
Paul knew it was all of grace that God had arrested his violent rebellion and transformed him into a new creature. Suddenly blinded to former charms, he received spiritual sight, with new beliefs, desire, and purpose. God’s amazing grace to him would not lie fallow. By the very nature of that vibrant, energizing grace that turned an enemy into a friend, Paul bounded ahead for the Lord’s purpose and glory. (Acts 9:3-20; Romans 5:10; 2 Corinthians 5:17)
“Amazing grace (how sweet the sound)
that saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
was blind, but now I see.” ~John Newton (1779)
Do we continually marvel at God’s grace to us in the life and death of Christ? That gift would be in vain were we not to offer our lives back to Him. How is so great a love compelling us? In what ways does it refine our outlook toward others, and energize our use of resources? How are we yielding our time and emotions to the movement of His grace through our words and actions? (2 Corinthians 5:14-21)
May we never treat in vain what to God was so costly. Would we take a moment each day to reflect on the marvelous grace lavished on and entrusted to us, surrender to its sweet and powerful sway, and ask how we can extend and proclaim that grace to others?
Father, may I daily access Your grace in order to stand, serve, speak, and rejoice unto Your glory. (Romans 5:2)