One of the great liberating texts of Scripture in my life comes from 1 Corinthians 15:10.
By the grace of God I am what I am.
In spite of Paul’s horrific resume as a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent (1 Tim. 1:13), he counted himself among those who witnessed the resurrected Christ first-hand and became the hardest working apostle of all. And he attributed it all to grace and nothing but grace.
John Bunyan, author of the classic Pilgrim’s Progress, offered this response on an occasion of hearing this verse of divine writ:
I am not what I ought to be. Ah, how imperfect and deficient!
I am not what I wish to be. I abhor what is evil, and I would cleave to what is good!
I am not what I hope to be. Soon, soon shall I put off mortality, and with mortality all sin and imperfection.
Yet, though I am not what I ought to be,
nor what I wish to be,
nor what I hope to be,
I can truly say, I am not what I once was;
a slave to sin and Satan;
and I can heartily join with the apostle, and acknowledge,
‘By the grace of God I am what I am.’
Though none of us is what we ought, wish, or hope to be, and won’t be until we reach glory, truth is we aren’t what we once were.
May we heartily join with the apostle and declare, By the grace of God I am what I am.
My oldest son stood yesterday at the gravesite of the tinker from Bedford who now is all that he hoped to be and more in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thanks for your comment, David. It made me realize I confused my Puritan John’s! Correction has been made. All I want for Christmas is a full-time editor.