Yet Not I

Phil 2:12-13
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. NKJV

Col 1:2929 To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily. NKJV

1 Cor 15:10-1110 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. NKJV

There is a consistent tension in Paul’s writings. We are expected to work, to labor, to strive, to obey. This is something we must freely choose as an expression of our own will. At the same time, we recognize that as we labor, it is really God working within us. Paul doesn’t present a 50/50 kind of partnership. We don’t contribute 50% and trust God for the remainder. Instead, we invest everything, all of our effort, and recognize that all the resources within are supplied by God’s Spirit. We give 100% and in doing so discover the sufficiency of God’s grace and power. I live, yet not I…

Gal 2:2020 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.NKJV

(Thanks to N.T Wright in his new book Justification: God’s Plan & Paul’s Vision for so clearly demonstrating the reality of this line of thinking in Paul.)


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