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Yet Not I, But Through Christ In Me

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But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 1 Corinthians 15:10

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 1 Corinthians 15:10

In the passage above, we see the foundation for the song, “Yet Not I, But Through Christ in Me.” Paul says he “worked harder than any of them”—referring to the other apostles. On the surface, Paul’s statement may seem boastful…but then you read to the end of the verse: “though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.”

Paul says something similar earlier in the book (1 Corinthians 2:1-5): that as he proclaimed the gospel, it was not with the fancy words he learned in his prestigious, Greek education, nor was he trying to win a popularity contest to be more favored than the other apostles. No, he “determined to know nothing…except Christ crucified.” 

The gospel tells us that while we were dead in our transgressions, living for ourselves, and rejecting the creator of the universe, God sent his Son to live a blameless life that we could never live, in order to be a perfect sacrifice. This had to be done, because God is righteous, holy, and just—and sin is not swept under the rug before him. Therefore, as Jesus lay bare on the cross, the weight of our sins—past, present, and future—were put upon him. And if the payment for that sin, Jesus’ blood, was not enough—if it wasn’t finished or paid in full—then Jesus would still be in that grave. But. He. Is. Not!

If we believe in the truth that the sacrifice of Jesus made a way for us to be reconciled to God and if we look to him as our only source of righteousness, then we are healed (Romans 10:9-10).  Nothing—no mistake or fear or heights or depths, or anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the Father (Romans 8:38-39).

I love this hymn because it reminds us that our greatest accomplishments are filthy rags, but the gift of grace is Jesus, our Redeemer; it emphasizes that in our weakness, his power is displayed; it supplies endless joy as we sing the victory of Jesus’ death and resurrection. “Yet Not I, But Through Christ in Me” reminds us that we can overcome all uncertainty, we can endure all despair, and we can walk with joy in all things—but only because of who Jesus is.

It is that truth that brings peace to the anxious, joy to the mourning, and rest to the striving. As we labor in this life, we are often tempted to credit ourselves with the win or success. But our reach, influence, and purpose only extends as far as we are giving God the glory for it. So whether our days are spent doing laundry, working two part-time jobs, or leading as CEO of a company—our aim is to say humbly, “yet not I, but through Christ in me.” 

Kayla_Blythe

Kayla Blythe has been a member of Providence Church for three years and is currently serving on staff as a Discipleship Ministry Resident. She is married to Austin, and enjoys watching the rain and smelling freshly printed books.