1 Timothy 1:12-17
1:12 I am grateful to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because he judged me faithful and appointed me to his service,
1:13 even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a man of violence. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief,
1:14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
1:15 The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the foremost.
1:16 But for that very reason I received mercy, so that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display the utmost patience, making me an example to those who would come to believe in him for eternal life.
1:17 To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
We are all born sinners and are in need of a Savior. At the point of conviction, it is important to recognize that it is God’s working power that is saving us. We cannot save ourselves and what this passage is referring to is, once God saves us, all the Glory must point back to Him.
Paul gives us a clear example of one who was so far off from having any hope of being saved. He was once a man that hated Christ and persecuted and tortured anyone who followed after Jesus. He was bent on destroying the name of Jesus and relished in placing fear in the hearts of those who proclaimed to live for Christ.
Paul was a man who was filled with violent rage and utter distain towards Christianity. Yet, through His encounter with Christ, Paul was faced with the seriousness of His sin and became one of the most influential and active missionaries that we read about in scripture.
The point that Paul is making is the message that God’s Grace is able to cover any and all sin that we commit. He calls himself the chief of sinners and makes it a point to give Glory to God for saving him from his road to eternal punishment. This is a message of encouragement to us because there are those who believe that they are so far out of reach of God’s Grace that they can never be saved. Yet God’s Grace knows no limits and will reach as far as necessary to bring His children back to Him.
Jesus can also save you, the person who is convinced that sin has already gotten a foothold of their life. Grace says that your sins are forgiven and by turning from your sin to the one who can erase them permanently, you are like Paul, made new again.
One of the reasons we focus so much on God’s grace as Christians is because God chose to save us in the middle of our own sin. He did not wait for us to be good enough or to find a time when we were being “good”. He saved us in the middle of our being dead in sin. What a testimony we have to others, that God loves man enough that He is eagerly waiting for them to respond without condition.
But for that very reason I received mercy, so that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display the utmost patience, making me an example to those who would come to believe in him for eternal life. (1 Tim 1:16)
Paul noted that he was an example to others and likewise we aught to be examples to others. Never be afraid to share your testimony of grace with others. Your testimony could be the one that leads that person to the Lord.
[Featured image from pulpit.com]