We are dead spiritually; we are fit for nothing but wrath; we were rebels and in bondage to sin and Satan. In the midst of that condition, God saved us. We exercised faith, which is itself a gift of God, (John 6:44-47), and God blessed us with the greatest possible gift –eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord! (John 5:24; 6:37-40)
You might ask, “If this is all a work of God, where do I fit in the process?” The answer is you must believe, you must exercise faith in Christ for salvation. This exercise is not a work, however, because it involves no ability on our part and no effort on our part. That is the hard thing to understand about faith—it is not an action, it is surrender, a throwing up of the hands and saying “I can do nothing by myself”.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
It was Peter that said, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. (2 Corinthians 15:10)
This is not a flagrant statement that is meant to excuse character flaws. Peter knew he was a sinner who Jesus Christ came into the world to save. And he knew it was the powerful grace of God that was the source of work in his life.
It is by God’s grace that he was called to be an apostle and it is only by God’s grace that he was strengthened to labor in the mission field harder than the others. Paul wants us to understand that not only is he a man who totally sold out to God, but he is a man who works and acts totally at the good pleasure of God. There is not one success that he can lay claim to. He labored in the field, but God did the work.
All too often we are quick to accept the credit for our successes in life. How wonderful would it be if everyone would acknowledge it was God working in them and with them? Everything is given by him. Nothing can be achieved without him.
Anything good you see in me is because of Jesus Christ.
And anything bad, well, I’m working on it with His help!