We don’t like the word “sinner”, and we certainly tend to think that if we have a few stains on our conscience, there are plenty others much worse. But Paul has a surprise for us
“ 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.” ( v15 in the reading 1 Timothy 1:12-17 )
WHAT? Of course, Saul had led the persecution of Christians, rooting them out and putting them in prison. But he doesn’t say “I was”, he says “I am”. Perhaps we have to think again about our status, and doubt that great sinners are so different from us!
Who has never ever said “I hate you!”; never driven too fast; never lied, been glad at someone else’s failure, caused trouble between friends, … we don’t like recognising evil in us; but that doesn’t take it away
“ 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.
” 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.”
Don’t imagine that you escape the label of “sinner”,
but don’t despair either. God is concerned about sinners, given the chance, he goes looking for them, brings them home, sorts them out –
and does it all very gently and patiently.
That’s why he has given us examples of those who found his love;
that’s why we are told about how concerned he is
not with the good, but with the outsider
You may know people in pain or difficulty, perhaps pray for them. Don’t forget those who may have caused the pain or difficulty. God cares – for all his children. Even the worst! There’s hope for everybody, if they want to take it.
And that’s why Paul pauses for a short hooray. Well, to be exact
“ To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen. ”
God is good, with a goodness not overcome by terrorism, or any other form of sin, including yours and mine.
we celebrate that goodness (not our own)
and have the responsibility to take advantage, and to announce:
“ The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”