I CORINTHIANS 15:10: “But by God’s grace I am what I am, and his grace shown to me was not wasted. Instead, I worked harder than all the others—not I, of course, but God’s grace that was with me.” (ISV)
OBSERVATION: Am I wasting God’s Grace? In this verse from I Corinthians, Paul makes a point to note that the grace which was shown to him was not wasted. How can we waste God’s Grace?
This question is difficult to answer without first addressing the nature of grace. In Sunday School I learned that grace was the unmerited favor and love of God. This definition really is deficient. If this is all grace is, how can I waste something that is unmerited, and that is an action of God toward me? Surely grace must be much more!
Many think of salvation when they think of grace. The old hymn proclaims – “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me…”. Truly, salvation is the beginning point of grace, but it certainly is not the sum total of grace. If grace only secures our eternal destination, then how can I waste it?
Yet the Scripture declare that God’s Grace is so much more! As we read the Scriptures we find that grace encompasses:
- The saving grace of God: Ephesians 2:8-9
- The equipping grace of God: Romans 12:1-6
- The empowering grace of God: I Corinthians 15:10
- The teaching grace of God: Titus 2:11-13
So, we are saved by grace, equipped by grace, empowered by grace, and taught by grace. Now it becomes apparent that if we simply stop at salvation – it truly is possible to waste God’s Grace! By the Grace of God we are saved and made a part of His family. Yet, we are also equipped, empowered, and taught – to live out our lives in the world as salt and light. If grace only changes our eternal destination, but does not impact our daily journey – we are wasting God’s Grace!
Paul was emphatic in making this point. He had previously persecuted the church. Yet, since receiving God’s Grace, he spent every waking hour and every ounce of energy – endeavoring to proclaim the Gospel, live for Jesus Christ, and build up the church he had once attacked.
- “Instead, I worked harder than all the others—not I, of course, but God’s grace that was with me.”
Paul was not advocating works righteousness. We can never earn salvation and God’s favor through our works. Yet, we can use our works – to give glory to the one who so freely and lovingly poured out His Grace upon us! We have a choice. We can either waste God’s Grace – or we can employ it! Paul chose to employ it – with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength! There were no grey areas in Paul’s life. The call to discipleship and obedience was an answer to God’s Grace. It was crystal clear to Paul, and should be crystal clear to us!
Grace is not a pass to do whatever we want and still go to heaven. NO! – Grace is the empowerment from God to live in, through, and by the power of His Love! It is God’s Love that compels us, empowers us, and propels us!
- “For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” II Corinthians 5:14-15 NKJV
Lord, this morning – compel me by Your Great Love – to give my life as a living sacrifice of obedience to Your will. Thank you for Your Saving Grace! Now Empower me, Equip me, and Teach me to live in the power of Your Great Love!
In Jesus Name!