Grace changes lives. But what is grace? Grace is a gift from God. Some have said it’s God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. It’s a provision from God to meet a need in your life that you could not possibly meet without his grace. When you are in need or when you are weak, God’s grace is there to meet the need or strengthen you in your weakness.
For example, when Paul was weakened by a thorn in his flesh, 2 Cor 12:7-10, God’s grace strengthened him. He said, When I am weak, then I am strong. Likewise, when you recognize that you need to be saved and that you cannot save yourself, God’s grace saves you, Eph 2:8-9.
God’s grace is continually available to change you. In other words, when God, by his grace, saves a drug addict, he doesn’t intend for him to just be a saved drug addict. He intends for him to be a new creature in Christ, 2 Cor 2:17. Remember John Haveman’s testimony last August. God saved him while he was still on drugs. But God didn’t leave him that way. By God’s grace Bro Haveman became a pastor, and a preacher of the gospel. All of his children, with the possible exception of one, are in the ministry serving God.
In our text, Paul said, “But by the grace of God I am what I am”. When he said this, he had become a very different person than he was the day the Lord saved him on the road to Damascus.
I have seen Christians who are virtually the same as they were when the Lord saved them. I have heard Christians excuse their bad behavior by saying, “That’s just the way I am”. Don’t be what you were. Let the grace of God make you the new creature God wants you to be.
Grace Changes Lives
Grace changes who you are. Paul said, “I am what I am”. He was no longer what he used to be. Paul had been a Hebrew of the Hebrews, a Pharisee,. Now he said, “I am the least of the apostles”. He went from pride in his birth, accomplishments, and righteousness to humility through the changes that God’s grace had made in his life. He was a child of God, an apostle, a servant, and a soldier.
Grace changes what you do. He had “persecuted the church of God”. He told Timothy, “concerning zeal, persecuting the church of God”. He had blasphemed God and persecuted his people. Yet, by the grace of God, he became minister of the gospel. Instead of fighting Christ and Christians, he ministered to the church of God. He surrendered his life to serving the Lord.
Grace changes why you do what you do. Paul said, “But by the grace of God… yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me”. It wasn’t him, but the grace of God in him, that produced the things he did. And the purpose was so “that no flesh should glory in his presence”, 1 Cor 1:29, and 1 Cor 1:31. Paul’s life had changed completely. He said, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain”. And God gets all the credit.
Grace changes how you do what you do. Paul said, “I labored more abundantly than they all”. He didn’t have the capacity to do this much work. He did it by the grace of God. And when required or for the sake of his testimony, he worked with his own hands. No amount of threats, beatings, or persecutions stopped him. He was willing to suffer and die. Nothing could stop him, because of the grace of God, until they killed him.
Conclusion: if you aren’t saved, get saved by the grace of God. If you are saved, but your life hasn’t changed, then by the grace of God, let God change you into the new creature you were created by him to be.