The Apostle Paul is a perfect example of a man who derived his self image from the grace of God. In I Corinthians 15:10, Paul said, “By the grace of God, I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon 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.”
Paul was not ashamed, because he learned the secret of effectively bearing fruit through grace. In other words, he allowed God to do the producing in his soul, instead of receiving the grace of God in vain, as described in II Corinthians 6:1: “We then, as workers together with him beseech you also that you receive not the grace of God in vain.” To receive the grace of God in vain is to continue producing the evil works of the flesh, which result from the natural disposition of the old sin nature.
The grace disposition is the result of properly receiving the gift of grace. Selfishness is excluded from this disposition because of the command given in I Peter 4:10: “As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” It is impossible for man, apart from the revelation of the Holy Spirit, to fathom the magnificence of the manifold grace of God!