Rom 15:18-21 “For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed, Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man’s foundation: But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand.”
It is in the nature of man to want to take credit when things go well. If the economy is booming, then the current elected officials like to take all the credit. Conversely, if things are not going well, it is always the other guy’s fault. Unfortunately, we seek this tendency in people who publicly profess to be followers of Jesus Christ.
There are men and women who are more than ready to tell you how they can help you to become a child of God. For a price, they will pray for you and tell you how to become prosperous in the things of this world. If that happens to work out for you, then they are ready to tell you instrumental they were in your success. On the other hand, if things do not work out it is your lack of faith and not any failing on their part.
Paul could certainly have boasted about all he had suffered. He could have taken credit for the wonderful gospel he had preached or the things that he had written to the churches. He could easily have pointed to the power he had displayed in restoring the dead to life. He could have…except for the love and reverential fear he had for Christ who had saved him.
Paul said he would not dare to speak of anything he had done. He would not take any credit to himself. He knew, and he wanted others to know, that anything he had said or done that had helped God’s people along their way was not him. He had been the instrument by which Christ had worked these things.
When we today are able to give someone good advice or encouragement, let us be careful that we place the glory where it belongs. If we are able to live a godly life before our family and our neighbors, let us be sure that we are giving the honor to Jesus who has saved us and called us. Let us be diligent to give God the praise when we are able to lift our voices in song, testimony, or preaching. Like Paul, we need to recognize that these things are by the power of the Spirit of God.
Paul walked in that power everywhere he went. In that power, he fully preached the gospel of Christ in all his travels. It behooves us, by word and dead, to fully preach the gospel of Christ wherever we go. To fully preach the gospel of Christ, He must receive all the credit.
Paul obviously went into areas where the grace of Jesus Christ had not been preached. There are still today men and women going all over this world to share the gospel of Jesus. We may not all be called to go into foreign lands, but we may still have the opportunity to declare the grace of Christ where it has not been heard before. When men take credit for the work of God, they are not declaring the grace of Jesus Christ regardless of how many times they use His name.
As we preach the gospel of Christ with our words and deeds, let us be careful that we are not building on another man’s foundation. We should preach what the Spirit of God has revealed to us of His word, knowing this: the Spirit will not “reveal” to us anything that is contrary to the teaching of the scripture. God is unchangeable because He has no need to change. His word is immutable because God has declared “the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.”
May we rejoice in, and give testimony of, God who cannot lie and brings to pass all His purposes!