August 19, 2022 – Friday
1 Timothy 1:12-14 NIV
12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service.
13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief.
14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
Normally I would have only provided verse fourteen above and only later provided the two preceding verses, but here I wanted you to see how Paul described himself in verse thirteen where he was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man. How bad was Paul?
Paul was the priest who, by his presence, gave the approval for the stoning of the first Christian martyr, Stephen. We can read about Stephen’s stoning in Acts 7 where in verse 58 we find those who stoned Stephen laid their coats or robes or outer garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. That young man was later to be known as Paul. Paul knew his past and what he had done so he believed The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. He believed grace, his undeserved favor, his unmerited favor, was poured out on him abundantly.
I believe we all have grace poured out abundantly on us when we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior. Paul believed that way because he had persecuted the body of Christ, the members of His body of believers. His persecution of them ranged from loss of jobs to prison to torture and even to death. Saul was on his way to Damascus to continue his persecution of Christians there when he had a direct encounter with Jesus. Paul saw his sins so clearly that he wrote, 15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.
Jesus came to save sinners, even those as bad as Paul before his heart was changed. In verse 16 he calls himself the worst of sinners, in many versions he called himself the chief of sinners. The first time I was made aware of this, I was attending a Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship meeting where they talked of Paul as the Chiefest of Sinners. The point was that many believed they had sins that could not be forgiven, but in reality, there is no sin so great it exceeds God’s ability to forgive or as Paul wrote, But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. No matter your sin, it can be forgiven by God and if you believe in Him you can receive eternal life.
I don’t know what your secret sin is that you hold close to your heart believing God cannot forgive your particular sin or sins. It may be abortion, it may be infidelity, it may be terrible thoughts, it may be how you mistreated someone, it may be cheating or lying to get a job or it may be anything; the fact remains God will forgive if you but come to Him believing Jesus died for your sins and rose on the third day.
Bottom Line: God forgives if we come to Him repentant, believing Jesus died for our sins and rose on the third day.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank You for the Apostle Paul who knew without a doubt he did not deserve the grace You so freely granted him, just as you do for each and every one of us who turn to You through the cross Jesus died on. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton