Paul testified that he had become an Apostle of Jesus Christ despite being unworthy, having persecuted the Church before his conversion. He declared that he really should be the ‘least of the apostles’.
“I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” 1Corinthians 15:9
Yet, Paul goes on to explain that he was able to become an apostle despite his past and his disqualification “by the grace of God”.
“But by the grace of God I am what I am” 1Corinthians 15:10.
It is only by God’s grace that we become anything other than a sinner bound for eternal judgement. We can take Paul’s words “by the grace of God” and apply them widely.
Only by the grace of God have you been saved.
“For by grace you are saved, through faith” Ephesians 2:8.
You did not deserve it nor were you even close to God’s salvation. It took the death of Christ to make you right with God. That is pure grace.
Only by the grace of God can you live with God’s blessings today.
“Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens in Christ.” Ephesians 1:3
“God’s divine power has given us all things relating to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to glory and virtue: By which we are given exceeding great and precious promises: by which you can be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” 2Peter 1:3,4
Do you have peace? It is by God’s grace.
Do you have purpose? It is by God’s grace.
Do you have fruitfulness? It is by God’s grace.
Are you respected? It is by God’s grace.
Has God used you to bless others? It is by God’s grace.
Since it is “by the grace of God” that you enjoy all the things you do, you can’t pretend that you deserve them, or are more worthy of them than others. There is no room for you to take the glory.
“For who makes you different from others? And what do you have that you didn’t receive? If you received it, why do you boast as if you didn’t receive it?” 1Corinthians 4:7
God offers us grace all the time. He calls us to respond in humility and to allow Him to work in and through us. It is up to us to respond to that opportunity.
Isaiah saw the Lord in the temple and was immediately humbled by seeing himself as he truly is, unworthy.
“I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. … Then I said, Woe is me! I am undone; because I am unclean, and I dwell among unclean people: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” Isaiah 6:1,5
That response of humble repentance opened the way for Isaiah to offer himself to service for God and become one of the greatest Old Testament prophets.
God calls each of us to faith in Christ, obedience, humble submission, service of God, holiness, power in the Holy Spirit and much more. Each time God prompts us He is offering us His grace. We need to respond and allow God to move in and through us, then we receive the grace of God that empowers us to be what we have not been before.
By the grace of God you are who and what you are.
So there is no room for you to boast and put yourself over others. Instead you could help them receive God’s grace and become who God wants them to be.
And you are perfectly placed to keep receiving God’s grace, as you respond to the promptings of God in your life, stepping out of your comfort zone and allowing God to call you to new things, such as new freedom inside you and new capacity to help those around you.
But in all that, it is “by God’s grace”.