“and his grace towards me is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:10b)
Admittedly, nothing that God does is done in vain. He effectively works out all things according to his divine purpose and pleasure, and praise God that he does, because if things were left to us, we would usually make a colossal mess out of them. Yet, you knowing that God’s grace toward you was not in vain is a bit different from your neighbor knowing it. When the world looks at you, would they say of you that God’s grace toward you is in vain?
This is the same kind of language that Peter uses when he tells us to make our calling and our election sure (2 Peter 1:10). Sure in whose eyes? Certainly not in God’s eyes! Peter is saying that we must build upon the faith that we have been given by God if we are to mature in godliness. And if you look at the list of things that Peter commends us to add to our faith you will find that nearly all of them are things that have to do with the way we live toward others. What Peter is saying and what Paul is saying is that if you have received God’s grace, you should strive for a life of integrity that draws others to the cross of Christ. People should see you and recognize that there is something different in you that they want for themselves. This is how you witness through your actions—by living out your faith before others.
Sadly, I wonder how many Christians today could make such a bold statement as Paul is making. How many times have we been in a situation where someone then looks at us and says, “oh, I didn’t know you were a Christian?” Friends, endeavor to make your actions speak for themselves. Preach the gospel and if necessary use words, as Francis of Assisi once said. Live your faith humbly for the world and do so in such a way that the world is drawn to Christ. No, we will not be judged by your works (and praise God for that), but our works are a reflection of the faith that God has worked within us. And works are visible for the world to see. May the world never say of you that God’s grace toward you was in vain.