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…
I. THE REASONS WHY DIVINE GRACE IS INDISPENSABLY REQUISITE TO OUR SPIRITUAL WELFARE. The progress of real religion is not only promoted by the discoveries of the understanding, but by the state of the affections. The passions of love, hope, and fear are the springs of universal obedience; and these, when directed to proper objects, regulate and amend the conduct. But the carnal mind is enmity with God. This fallen and depraved state of human nature is one of the principal reasons why Divine grace is indispensably requisite to our spiritual welfare. Without the efficacious operations of the Holy Spirit our prayers will be languid and formal, our devotions careless and insipid, and our lives irregular and unholy. What would be the state of the mind in spiritual concerns, unaided by the powerful operations of Divine grace? Would not the world, with all its fascinating charms, intervene between us and purer communion with God? Are we not, with every warning around us of the vanity of life, too much attached to present objects? Where shall we find that holy zeal which is requisite to our perseverance in a Christian course without the continual aids of Divine grace? As genuine piety is implanted in the heart by the Spirit of God, so it requires the constant aids of the same Divine power to cherish the growth of pure and undefiled religion.
II. THE MANNER IN WHICH THE GRACE OF GOD OPERATES ON THE MIND. It usually begins by alarming the conscience and bringing us to a proper view of our danger. The value and worth of the immortal soul is then correctly understood, and the mind is alive to its chief and most important interests (Psalm 4:6). Divine grace not only operates on the mind by causing us to think seriously, when we were before careless and indifferent; but it enlightens the understanding and corrects the errors of a mistaken judgment. The efficacious aids of this Divine power are also manifest, not only in enlarging the faculties of reason, and adding a luminous distinction to the acuter determinations of the judgment, but also in directing our choice to proper objects and fixing the affections on heavenly pursuits. The grace of God operates on the mind by inclining it to the love of holiness; by cherishing every mild, peaceable, charitable, and contented disposition which flows from the real dictates of pure and undefiled religion. Divine grace does not operate on the mind by lessening our pleasures, but by regulating them. It teaches us to distinguish between those joys which are lasting, and those which only flatter to destroy. This principle, when really implanted in the heart, will uniformly influence and amend the life. Though it will not in this militant state constitute us perfect, yet it will habitually render us altered men in our character, conduct, and pursuits.
III. THE BENEFITS WHICH HAVE UNIFORMLY ARISEN FROM THE DIVINE ASSISTANCE, AND THE DUTIES INCUMBENT ON ALL WHO HAPPILY ENJOY IT. First, the mind is prepared by the influence of Divine grace for the performance of works acceptable and pleasing to God. Further, from the powerful operations of Divine grace, we shall derive not only the lively exercise of faith, genuine repentance, but the continued improvement in every Christian virtue. Our minds will be hereby elevated to the blissful enjoyment of communion with God. Let us now, then, consider the duties which are incumbent on all who happily enjoy this Divine aid. It is our duty to be diligent in the use of those means which are connected with the end. It is not in the busy crowd, or amidst the trifling and the gay, that we can have the sublimer joys of religion; but it is by a willing obedience to the commands of God, a course of habitual piety, and having our minds with our whole affections the temple of the Holy Ghost. It is our duty to avoid every pursuit which may divide us from God or lessen our love of practical holiness. Let us watch against the beginnings of vice, and more especially those temptations to which either our calling in life or our natural inclination peculiarly expose us.
(J. Grose, A.M.)
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.