May 1, 2023

A Testimony of Grace

In our Being Transformed Journal, we get to look at a piece of Paul’s letter to the early church that beautifully describes what the Transforming work of Jesus looks like.

Author
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Maddy Brown

Student Ministry Worship Pastor

In 1 Corinthians 15:9-11 (ESV), he writes “For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy 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 toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.”

This is Paul’s testimony of grace. Rightfully so, Paul felt that his sins were worse than others because he persecuted the church and harmed God’s people, and therefore regarded himself as the least of the apostles. Through this passage, I see a story that is represented in the lives of many. This story encapsulates the journey to accept forgiveness, pursue transformation, and credit it all to God.

Paul took a humble posture before both God and men. He knew that his past grieved the heart of God so he made an effort to remember his sin. Paul shows us the importance of remembering and repenting but not letting the shame of a past life control his present relationship with God and or His people.

I think we can all agree that at some point we were stuck in sin. While some sins feel like small mistakes that can be quickly forgiven and moved past, others feel like heavy burdens that seem to hold you down. However, the truth is that we (Paul and I) aren’t so different from each other. Whether it be gossip, pride, lust, addiction, etc. No one is truly worthy of the gift of grace. Like Paul, we can all say “I am unworthy because insert sin here.” Paul doesn’t share his testimony to prove that he deserved a place in the kingdom due to his hard work but rather to prove that the grace of God is sufficient for every story.

“By the grace of God, I am what I am.” Paul gives God the glory and credit for the transformation in His life. He was a changed man, forgiven, cleansed, and full of love when he used to be full of hate. He knew this was not his own accomplishment, but it was the work of the grace of God in him. There is now no competition to be had because the glory is not ours.

Spurgeon says this about grace “You see that the mark of a child of God is that by the grace of God, he is what he is; what do you know about the grace of God? ‘Well, I attend a place of worship regularly.’ But what do you know about the grace of God? ‘I have always been an upright, honest, truthful, respectable man.’ I am glad to hear it; but what do you know about the grace of God?”

Similar to Paul’s letter, there is an encouragement to remember our sins so that we may point the transforming work in our lives to the grace of God. This is our testimony!

This week, join me in taking some time to write out how you’ve seen the gift of grace in your own life. If you’ve been following Jesus for a long time, you may have pages worth of grave-to-garden material…Praise God! If you’ve recently accepted forgiveness and are just beginning your journey, don’t be discouraged if you only have one thing to write about. There's so much goodness and grace to be held in your story, and I can’t wait for you to discover more of who Jesus is through His transforming grace!

No matter where you are, there is so much more for God to restore! May we never grow callous to how amazing the gift of grace truly is.

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What is Casting Lots?

We read today in our Being Transformed Journal Luke 1, where Zacharias receives life changing news as he is performing his priestly duties in the Temple.

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David Terry

Executive Worship Pastor