I Am What I Am
But by the [remarkable] grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not without effect. In fact, I worked harder than all of the apostles, though it was not I, but the grace of God [His unmerited favor and blessing which was] with me.
1 Corinthians 15:10
Has the manner of God’s working in relation to your own life come home to you? Have you not been arrested by the way in which he has moved, choosing you out from multitudes around you and making you his own? Oh, I think of it often. When I was saved I was a student. I had over four hundred fellow students, and out of all that number God’s choice lighted on me. How could it have come about? I was one of a large clan, and out of the whole clan God chose me. How could it happen? When we think of the marvelous ways by which his grace reached us we fall down before him in adoration and acknowledge that he is God, he alone.
You asked why he saved you? Let me tell you that he saved you because it was his delight to save you. Because he wanted you, he chose you and brought you to himself. So there is nothing for you to say, nothing for you to do, nothing but just to worship him.
The title of today’s devotion is not to imply that we are destined to stay the old sinful us. Rather it describes the “new creation” for Paul says that it is by the grace of God and through His grace that he is now an apostle. Like us, he is fully aware of his past and the amazing work of grace that God has wrought in him. So he tells us that his role as an apostle instead of continuing his role of persecutor is the incredible example of God’s amazing grace.
We will never fully appreciate our salvation until we give an honest assessment of our life before Christ. If you will just let your mind consider that the God of the universe came seeking you in the midst of eight billion people and offered you the opportunity to become His child, you can only exclaim in wonder as Paul does in Romans:
“ For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading again to fear [of God’s judgment], but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons [the Spirit producing sonship] by which we [joyfully] cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies and confirms together with our spirit [assuring us] that we [believers] are children of God. And if [we are His] children, [then we are His] heirs also: heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ [sharing His spiritual blessing and inheritance], if indeed we share in His suffering so that we may also share in His glory.”
Our identity is no longer that of who we are as it pertains to our family, our culture or our environment. Our identity is in our adoption as children of God. And if that doesn’t stir your heart, it is dead indeed.
David, sitting on a hillside one night and gazing at the display of the stars and lights of heaven captures this awe in Psalm 8.
“When I see and consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,The moon and the stars, which You have established, What is man that You are mindful of him,And the son of [earthborn] man that You care for him?”
It’s not as though we were somebody special with great talents or great attributes. Paul will tell us that most of us whom God has chosen are the weak and the foolish.
“Just look at your own calling, believers; not many [of you were considered] wise according to human standards, not many powerful or influential, not many of high and noble birth. But God has selected [for His purpose] the foolish things of the world to shame the wise [revealing their ignorance], and God has selected [for His purpose] the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong [revealing their frailty]. God has selected [for His purpose] the insignificant (base) things of the world, and the things that are despised and treated with contempt, [even] the things that are nothing, so that He might reduce to nothing the things that are, so that no one may [be able to] boast in the presence of God. But it is from Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God [revealing His plan of salvation], and righteousness [making us acceptable to God], and sanctification [making us holy and setting us apart for God], and redemption [providing our ransom from the penalty for sin], so then, as it is written [in Scripture], “He who boasts and glories, let him boast and glory in the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 1:26-31
When we understand that God called us, saved us, and adopted us just because He loved us and desired us and for no other reason, our hearts melt with gratitude and and we can only express those feelings through worship. The woman who fell at Jesus feet and washed them with tears, dried them with her hair, and anointed them with the expensive ointment paints the vivid picture of the one who truly appreciates the depth of the grace of God that drew them from the pit of sin and restored their life.
Like me you may question why God would desire someone like you. And I confess I don’t know why God would do such a thing, but I know He does and He has has and that’s enough for me. I can only respond with overflowing gratitude and worship to the One who has done such a thing.
The songwriter Andre Crouch penned these words:
I don’t know why Jesus loved me
I don’t know why He cared
I don’t know why He sacrificed His life
Oh but I’m glad, so glad He did.
That sums it up. We may never know why God chose us, but I hope, like me you’re so glad He did.
Dr. John Thompson