I was listening to the Bible on my way to work and when the reader read 1 Corinthians 15:10, I realized that Paul confirms what James has been trying to explain in James 2:17, “Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.”
Paul said, in verse ten, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with in me.”
Paul is saying the grace God bestowed upon him did not prove to be in vain because he worked harder than the rest. He, like James says, proved the faith within him was true by his outward works.
When Paul says he worked harder than the rest, this does not mean he worked harder to find a way into heaven, but that he worked hard at life so that the truth of the gospel might not be hindered.
These are some interesting ways in which Paul worked in order to not hinder the gospel.
He worked hard to provide monetarily for himself and others.
Acts 20:33-35 “I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or clothes. You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my own needs and to the men who were with me. In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'”
He worked hard at a secular job so he did not have to take, for a profit, money gained from the gospel.
1 Corinthians 9:11-12, “If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? If others share the right over you, do we not more? Nevertheless, we did not use this right, but we endure all things so that we will cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ.”
He also worked hard at, and taught those around him, to walk blameless for the sake of the gospel.
1 Thessalonians 2:9-12, “For you recall, brethren, our labor and hardship, how working night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you, we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children, so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.”
He was able to do these things because he always had the furtherance of the gospel first on his mind, giving us a great example of how to live.
I think this is one of the reasons God used him so mightily, allowing him to write most of the New Testament.
Father, help me to always have the gospel of Your great Son, Jesus Christ, first on my mind so that in all my actions I in no way bring a hinderance to Your work in this world. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen