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“By the grace of God I am what I am.”
1 Corinthians 15:10
Paul knew nothing of human merit. He knew that he did not even deserve to be considered by God. He had been before a blasphemer, a persecutor, and injurious. “But”, he wrote, “I obtained mercy...and the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.” For the apostle Paul, there was no confession more suitable to his own experience than this: — “By the grace of God I am what I am.” And it is equally appropriate to all who have experienced the grace of God. Every believer, every heaven born soul, being taught of God in the sweet experience of his saving mercy, gladly ascribes his entire salvation to the grace of God.
This is our doctrinal confession. — “By the grace of God I am what I am.” If you are saved, you do not owe your salvation to anything you have done. And for you who are not converted, if ever you are to be saved, it will not be because of any goodness in you. We must deny our own merits, or we cannot have the merits of Christ. The source of God’s goodness to us lies altogether in his sovereign mercy. Everything in salvation was accomplished for us and in us by Christ alone. He chose us, he redeemed us, he justified us, and he called us. And it is Christ alone who preserves us unto eternal glory.
This is our constant experience. — “By the grace of God I am what I am.” Being made to know something of the depravity of our own hearts, we do with weeping eyes testify that we are what we are by the grace of God. When we feel the power of lusts within us and temptations from without; when we see others we have esteemed highly for their profession fall and turn from the faith, when we have ourselves been restored to fellowship with Christ after a fall, and when we are made to rejoice in the fulness of God’s mercy, love, and grace in Christ, we rejoice to say, “By the grace of God I am what I am.”
This is our grateful acknowledgement. — “By the grace of God I am what I am.” We realize that the only distinction between us and all other people is the distinguishing grace of God. As we read the black catalogue of human sin, let us never forget these words, “And such were some of you.” But now, by the grace of God, we are washed, we are sanctified, and we are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. Realizing what we were, we rejoice to say, “By the grace of God I am what I am.” With grateful hearts, we lift our eyes to heaven, to the God of all grace upon his throne, and sing with David, “Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth's sake!”