1 Timothy 1:1-20
TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):
1 Timothy 1:15-16 (ESV) “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.”
REFLECTIONS ON TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):
The Apostle Paul was arguably one of the most important figures of the New Testament, second only to Jesus. The Gospels tell us what Jesus did and said but Paul’s letters tell us why it matters and how it plays out in our personal lives. We are eternally indebted to the Apostle Paul for his contribution to the Christian faith.
Yet, Paul previously went by the name Saul. (Saul was a nice Hebrew name but the change of his name to Paul (Greek) roughly coincides with his conversion.) As Saul, he was vicious. If we were to look for a counterpart to Saul in today’s world, we might say he was an ISIS warrior. Because of Saul’s devout, Pharisaic faith, he was jailing Christians and participating in their death. And he believed that He was doing God a favor by doing so.
But, Paul was saved (Acts 9). Jesus got hold of his heart and radically changed this man. He went from fighting against Jesus to being one of Christ’s most courageous, passionate, and insightful gentle warriors.
And this is the point that Paul was making in our Verses for Today. He noted that he was downright evil before he was saved. Yet, Jesus had clearly conscripted Paul into His army and Paul was a very different man now. So, if God could graciously forgive someone like Paul, then God could graciously forgive anyone no matter what they had done.
This is the message of the cross, friend. No one is too far gone to be the object of God’s saving grace. The person who is the most vile could have the greatest testimony of the power of the cross if and when God gets hold of them.
So, don’t look down your nose at people who are against Jesus. Pray for them. Ask God to melt their hearts and cause them to see that our God loves them (John 3:16) and has made a way for them to be thoroughly forgiven and cleaned. And then pray that God would give you an opportunity to share the wonderful news of the Gospel with them.
Who knows! You could lead the next “Paul” to the Lord!