Friday, December 17, 2021
Originally Published October 4, 2021
1 Corinthians 15:6-10
Through the end of the year, we’ll be rerunning some of the best Life Lifters from 2021. We hope you’ll join us each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning!
One of the hardest things, being Christian, is sometimes looking back at your life and just being distressed at some of the things you did before you were a Christian. Believe it or not, the Apostle Paul had that same distressed feeling. Read this section from 1 Corinthians chapter 15:3-10, "Jesus Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, he was buried, he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures... Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born. For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve 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 to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them - yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me."
When the Apostle Paul looked back over his life, he saw that at a time in his life he persecuted the church of God. Because of that, he didn't think he even deserve to be called an apostle. He also says, "I worked harder than all of them," and I wonder if there was some part of the Apostle Paul that was trying to work out that sin of persecuting the church. But it comes to the conclusion, "I worked harder than all of them - yet not I." As if he is saying, "Not the hard work that I did." Hard work was important, and he worked hard for the kingdom. He tells us at the end of 1 Corinthians 15 that we should give ourselves fully to the work of the Lord. But this kind of hard work can't make up for the persecution, or for any sin in our past. He finally gets to the point where he says, "but by the grace of God, I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect." Even though Paul worked harder than all of them, it wasn't him, but the grace of God that was within him. The persecution in his past bothered him terribly, and yet he found his freedom in the fact that the grace of God had worked so powerfully in his life. The same is true for you and for me. We can't go back and make up for things that we did in our life. We can't make up for those things, but what we can do is see that the grace of God has set us free to be who he wants us to be. We can live productive lives presently, because of God's grace, no matter what we've done in our past. I hope for you that that will give you the lift for life that you need today.