We are going to go back to reading scripture together through Rooted. We’ll be following the Daily Lectionary from the Book of Common Prayer for a while. Today we’ll look at 1 Timothy 1: 1-17, but specifically 1 Timothy 1: 12-17:
12 I am grateful to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because he considered me faithful and appointed me to his service, 13 even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a man of violence. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 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. 16 But for that very reason I received mercy, so that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display the utmost patience as an example to those who would come to believe in him for eternal life. 17 To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
I’ve shared with you before that these last few letters of Paul in the Bible (Timothy, Titus, Philemon) are very personal to Paul, in many ways, fatherly. He is sharing key wisdom with his spiritual sons, helping them lead and order this new church.
This passage here is very powerful and very insightful for us. In this, Paul is giving us some background on his personal history. And what does he tell us? That before he met Jesus, he was not up to much good.
He said that he was a blasphemer. He was violent. He persecuted. He was among the worst you could find; he was trying to destroy Jesus’ church. He was an enemy of the Gospel.
And what did Jesus have for you? Patience. Paul acted from unbelief. He acted from ignorance. He didn’t know. So, he acted harshly. Jesus, though, knew that Pual was going to do great things for the Gospel. So, in spite of Paul’s sin, Jesus has patients towards him. He showed Paul mercy, undeserved mercy, to be an example.
Forgiveness can come to all who desire it. Grace abounds, and all who desire to be forgiven by our loving God can be forgiven by our loving God. Paul was among the worst; he spoke against the Spirit of God and the move of God. Jesus Christ came to save sinners, and as Paul said, he was foremost.
Jesus didn’t save Paul because Paul was righteous. He saved Paul because He loved Paul and because Paul was not a finished product. He had patience with Paul not because of who Paul was but because of who Paul could be.
Jesus has patience with us as well. We are not yet what we should be. But Jesus is working on us. He will complete His work on us. He will use us for His glory in some way. Even if we don’t think that is possible. He’s not done with us yet. He shows us patience. He shows us grace. And He will do great things in us.
Let us be faithful to Him, as He is faithful and patient to us!
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