There is a lot of great stuff in this chapter. I love the discussion about the resurrection, I love the victory of Christ over death, yet there is another portion that grabs my attention. Paul says, by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me is not without effect.
The first portion is often quoted to justify short comings. It is easy to utter the words, I am what I am by the grace of God, shrug our shoulders and keep going. This is a passage that has been used by myself and others to justify many harmful things. The problem is we are only reading and applying a small portion of the passage. First we confuse the order of the words, might seem small but it is a big deal. The grace of God is what leads in the passage, not us. The grace of God is at work in our lives, whether we realize it or not. Because the grace of God is at work our lives take on a shape and a form. We are who we are because of God's grace.
My favorite part of this passage comes next and is often totally forgotten or lost. His grace to me has not been without effect. A quick translation is, my life has been transformed because of God's grace. No longer am I who I use to be. In Paul's case this means, no longer does he persecute the church of Christ, rather he is giving his whole life to build it up. Paul is who he is because of the grace of God which has transformed his life.
How about you? We all live in grace. Some recognize it and others are not yet convinced. If you recognize God's grace in your life has it had an effect on your life? Are you transforming because of God's grace, or are you justifying your life with grace?