August 23 - By the Grace of God
The word “grace” in Greek means gift or an unmerited favor. It is not to give something in return but simply to give out of love to the undeserving. We are all saved by grace of God and many of us can echo Paul’s statement: “By the grace of God I am what I am.” Everything we have comes from God as gift, all that we are is by His grace. This puts all of us in a receiving position in our relationship with God. To be receivers, we must humble ourselves and ask, as the apostle James has said so succinctly, “ You do not have because you did not ask.”
Time and again, we are reminded that God resists the proud but give grace to the humble. A proud person thinks that he is the reason for his being and well-being. There is no place for God in his life and so he thinks and behaves in the wrong way, in total denial of the place of God. None of us is as successful as the apostle Paul, yet he declares that his position as an apostle with the many powerful works he has performed are all gifts of grace from God.
He calls himself “the last of all” the apostles. Jesus appeared to him several years after the resurrection. Even the brother of Jesus, James, came to the Lord after the resurrection and was not one of the original Twelve. Jesus appeared to him and he became one of the apostles. Paul came the latest and was the last one of them all in timing. He was not even part of the original group that actually had lived with Jesus. He was not a “normal” apostle but like one that was abnormally born when Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus. Paul further realized his unworthiness because of his persecution of the church of God. He became an apostle simply by the grace of God and nothing in him could merit him for such an office.
The grace of God on Paul was not in vain for he worked harder than any of the apostles. Such hard work did not originate from Paul but as a result of God’s grace that was with him. Without the grace of God, he could not even operate. All his successes in ministry were gifts from God. As he preached, others believed. Even his preaching and declaration were not his own but God’s grace working in him to effect the change in people’s lives. There is nothing for Paul to boast about other than the cross of Jesus Christ.
Paul spoke as one who had seen the risen Lord and as one who knew who he was and how he related to God. This results in his humility and total dependence on God who was the source of his life and work. What is your concept of grace? Do you realize the power of God’s grace in your life? Are you living you life as a receiver of God’s grace or you are striving to be successful on your own? Are you a proud person or a humble person? Ask for more grace now.
Ps 91:9-16 Job 8:1-11:20 1 Cor 15:1-28 Prov 21:28-29