"I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen." - 1 Timothy 1:12-17
How many times do we need to be reminded that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners?
The answer: daily, every minute, every second.
This reminder is for the young Christian who is slowly starting to see the imperfections of others and their leaders. The fire you once had in telling others about Christ has started to die down and you are becoming a little cynical.
This reminder is for the weary Christian who truly feels the weight and burden of the ministry. The days seem to be getting longer and longer and you think there is no way you will have the strength to do this much longer.
This reminder is for the proud Christian. You think you deserve the platform you have and that God is pleased that many show up to hear you speak.
This reminder is for me.
Although we were enemies of God, He drew near. In this passage, Paul is recalling his testimony. He says he was a blasphemer, a persecutor, an insolent opponent of God. And so were you. Do you remember? You once were far off from God. I remember who I was and even how I viewed God. I was the type of person who "Christians" (or even myself sometimes now) would think was too far from God to be saved, but Isaiah 59:1 says, "Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save." This should remind you of God's mercy towards you. It should also remind you that His forgiveness and grace is not limited to those who have it all together and have a clean moral track record. God saved the chief of sinners, the apostle Paul.
Paul says that his salvation was an example to show Christ's perfect patience and power to save sinners. Christ did not come to rescue the clean, hypocritical, religious people. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.
Young Christian remind yourself of the gospel that has saved you and don't let the imperfections of others discourage you from telling everyone you know about Christ. In a way, because you have not been in the church long, you have an access to sinners that some in the church have walled themselves away from. Preach the gospel!
Weary Christian ... remind yourself of the love of God. It's good that you see that you don't have the strength. Like Paul, thank the Lord that he has and will give you strength in Christ Jesus.
Proud Christian ... remind yourself that you are a sinner in need of God's grace. Follow the example of Paul who gave all the glory to God and saw that his ministry was to exemplify the mercy, patience, and power of Jesus. Preach the gospel. Preach that Christ came into the world to save sinners like you and like me.
I need to be reminded of all these things.
To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.