Paul understood himself “eschatologically,” that means “in the big picture,” as someone set apart for a special purpose, as a recipient of grace. He knew that God doesn’t give grace to all, but uses graced people to reach un-graced people.
Common grace defined: the undeserved favor that God extends to all of humanity, even those who are unwilling to believe; thus, common grace.
Saving Grace defined: the undeserved favor that God extends to those He saves; thus, saving grace; it begins in eternity past and extends to eternity future.
Our tendency is to dummy down what Christ has done for us. Paul doesn’t do that, but describes salvation in eschatological imagery, to help us understand who we are. The Christian man or woman is, indeed, an emancipated slave who has escaped the slave-master’s whip, a revivified corpse, having been brought back to life from the dead, an Olympic athlete in the great race of life, a divinely sent ambassador to rep our King to a foreign land, a warrior in a cosmic struggle against the darkness that envelops the world, a person who has awakened and escaped a witch’s spell. “I accepted Christ” certainly does not capture these larger-than-life descriptions of our salvation, nor does it adequately portray the power of who we now are in Christ.