Reading: 1st Corinthians 15:9-11
Verse 10: “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and God’s grace to me was not without effect.”
As we continue today in 1st Corinthians 15 we get to the foundation of sharing and even of accepting the good news of Jesus Christ. In the years leading up to his conversion experience, Paul was the last one you’d ever expect to follow Jesus. Paul as Saul was the chief prosecutor of the church. Because of this past role, Paul identifies himself as the “least of the apostles.” Paul states that he doesn’t “deserve” to be called one. And yet here we are with Paul, one of the great missionaries of the early church.
He is right though: he didn’t deserve to be saved by Jesus. His past certainly did not earn him welcome into the church. Try as he might, Saul could not earn God’s love and favor through persecuting anything or anyone. The Lord met Saul where he was at – full of anger and hate and malice – and saved him by grace. Paul recognizes this: “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and God’s grace to me was not without effect.” Without grace Saul would’ve continued down his ugly path. But God’s grace – that acceptance and forgiveness driven by unconditional love – it rescued Paul. It saved Paul. It was not without effect: grace changed his life forever.
God’s grace continues to change lives. Day by day God’s grace works in you and me, changing us more and more into the image of God. Day by day God’s grace works in the lives of unbelievers, drawing them towards an encounter with Jesus Christ, savior of the world. Those saved by grace become like Paul, conduits of God’s grace. Practicing the grace that we too do not deserve yet receive in abundance, may we be sharers of the good news, bringing healing and transformation to our world.
Prayer: Lord God, I once was lost but now I have been found. I once was a sinner, but now I am a part of your family. Use me today to share this unconditional love and grace with others who are lost or are living in sin. May they too come to know your saving grace. Amen.