The Apostle John wrote the words, “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). The Apostle Paul didn’t write those words, but he certainly lived them. He had a powerful encounter with Jesus Christ, where Jesus confronted Paul with both His grace and His truth. Acts 9:4-5 describes how Jesus revealed truth to Paul, the truth that he not only persecuted Christians, but he was persecuting Jesus Himself. Acts 9:17-20 describes how Jesus revealed grace to Paul, grace that did not immediately judge and destroy him as a murderer. The grace of Jesus rescued and redeemed the one who had been a violent enemy of Jesus and His people.
Many years later Paul wrote:
“For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy 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; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (1 Corinthians 15:9-10).
Think of those great words: "By the grace of God I am what I am."
Paul gave the grace of God all the credit for the change in His life. He was a changed man, forgiven, cleansed, full of love when once he was full of hate. He knew this was not his own accomplishment, but it was the work of the grace of God in him. Grace changed Paul, and the grace that saves us also changes us. You can’t receive the grace of God without being changed by it. The changes don’t come all at once, and the changes are not complete until we pass to the next life, but we are indeed changed. The grace that saves our soul will also change our life.
The grace of God still changes lives.
This is true in the big sense of the salvation of our souls, but there is another sense in which it is true: the move from a legal relationship with God to a grace relationship with God. Living in grace and by grace is new territory for many followers of Jesus.
• Living by grace means we understand that God loves us, and the reasons are in Him and not in us.
• Living by grace means that we stop trying to give God reasons to love us, and by faith we just receive His love all the while knowing we are unworthy of it.
• Living by grace means we know that we are not on probation before God; He does not just barely tolerate us.
• Living by grace means that when we are disappointed with our self, it means that we have believed in our self.
• Living by grace means that in Jesus Christ, God does not only love us – He also likes us.
God wants every person to find the purpose and meaning of their life in and through His underserved acceptance and favor – through His grace. When we find that, we realize what Paul came to know: I am what I am by the grace of God.
Then, when we are something wonderful for God, it is because of the grace of God.
You can be religious without grace. You can be moral (at least in some ways) without grace. You can be rich without grace. You can have some measure of fun without grace. But to be what God really wants you to be, it can only happen by the grace and truth of Jesus Christ.