“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.” – 1 Timothy 1:15, 16
I find this particular passage one of the most comforting in all Scripture. I still recall the first time I read 1 Timothy carefully and the full weight of these words hit me. Paul: a murderer, fanatic, arrogant judge – all done in the name of God – found full forgiveness and salvation in Jesus.
When this text grabbed hold of me I was grieving over my own past and wondering if God could REALLY forgive,
much less want a relationship with, someone like me. No, I have not physically murdered anyone but when I thought about my own litany of sins – betrayal, deception, judgmental spirit, prejudice, hypocrisy (among others) – I found myself wondering if there could truly be room for me in God’s Kingdom.
“But I received mercy for this reason…” This thought: that God would redeem the worst of us in order to reassure the rest of us, absolutely flooded my heart with Joy.
In these words I received confirmation that there was indeed a place for me at God’s dinner table. More than that, if anyone else were ever to suggest to me that they were too evil to experience redemption, Paul’s testimony puts this fear to rest.
The enemy, Jesus says, “…comes only to steal and kill and to destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)
Good News, indeed.
Am I living in the confidence of God’s promise or do I let reminders from the past steal my joy?