1 Corinthians 15:10
But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed on me was not in vain…
The conversion of Paul is not to be made the test of conversion in general. His case was peculiar. Deeply prejudiced against the name and religion of Christ, as well as by the mode of his education, as by the example of his connections and associates, more than ordinary means were necessary to reconcile him to the doctrines of the Cross. But we who have lived under the light of the gospel, and been encouraged from our infancy to revere its doctrines and laws, have no more warrant to look for any immediate and palpable manifestation of Divine power to convert us from sin to holiness, than to expect the gifts of prophecy or of tongues.
I. WE ARE BOUND GRATEFULLY TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE INFLUENCE OF DIVINE GRACE, BOTH IN DIRECTING OUR ATTENTION TO "THE THINGS WHICH BELONG TO OUR PEACE," AND IN AIDING OUR EXERTIONS OF OBEDIENCE TO THE WILL OF GOD. Generally speaking, those who are "transformed by the renewing of their minds," perceive nothing which they can distinguish as a special impulse from above; but in the exercise of their rational faculties and in the use of appointed means are eventually brought to "choose that good part which cannot be taken from them." It can hardly be otherwise, at least, with such as are virtuously educated. Without any assignable human cause, preparatory to such an effect, a deep conviction of guilt and danger, accompanied with anxious desires and endeavours to obtain forgiveness and salvation, suddenly succeed a course of heedless inattention, neglect, and rebellion.
II. WITHOUT PERSONAL EXERTIONS OF OBEDIENCE TO THE WILL OF GOD, NONE CAN OBTAIN THE CHARACTER AND REWARDS OF THE FAITHFUL. Lessons:
1. We are led to remark the necessity of Divine assistance in the conversion and sanctification of sinful men.
2. We are taught that no trust is to be reposed in any impressions, however serious, or in any resolutions, however sincere, at the moment, which do not issue in a life of uniform virtue and godliness.
3. We are furnished with a test by which to ascertain and determine our spiritual state.
4. We may infer the paramount obligations imposed upon us to exercise charity toward all who exemplify an undissembled attachment to the cause of Christ — though they presume not confidently to describe the manner nor even to assert the reality of their "deliverance from darkness to light," etc.
(John Foster, D.D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.