Not in Vain!

Now I would remind you, brothers and sisters,
of the good news that
I proclaimed to you,
which you in turn received,
in which also you stand,
through which also you are being saved,
if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to you
—unless you have come to believe in vain.
For I handed on to you as of first importance
what I in turn had received:
that Christ died for our sins
in accordance with the scriptures,
and that he was buried,
and that he was raised
on the third day
in accordance with the scriptures,
and that he appeared to Cephas,
then to the twelve.
Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time,
most of whom are still alive,
though some have died.
Then he appeared to James,
then to all the apostles.
Last of all,
as to one untimely born,
he appeared also to me.
For I am the least of the apostles,
unfit 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 has not been in vain.

— 1 Corinthians 15:1-10a (NRSV, emphasis and text arrangement mine)

My questions this morning for me and for any readers are these:

Do we always remember that we are what we are by God’s grace?

Do we strive, as did Paul, to make certain that God’s grace was not given to us for nothing?

I don’t mean a salvation of works, any more than Paul did. The one who worked harder than any of them (v. 10b) also proclaimed grace.

But I do ask that while we rejoice in the proclamation that “He is risen!” we also ask ourselves whether we are living a life worthy of both the cross and the resurrection. Do we live with the realization of the grace given to us and the power that raised Christ from the dead?

— Henry Neufeld

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