Read: 1 Timothy 1:12-17
The Lord’s Grace to Paul
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.
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. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Sometimes people avoid Christ’s offer of salvation because they feel they’ve messed up so badly that their sins are unforgivable. Perhaps that’s how John Newton, a former slave trader, felt before he experienced God’s mercy and penned this line from his famous hymn: “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.”
The apostle Paul had similar feelings—he saw himself as the foremost of sinners. But that didn’t stop him from believing in Jesus as his Savior and Lord. In fact, as he looked back at the wonderful display of divine grace in his life, Paul recognized he was being used as an example of how far God’s grace can reach.
Jesus came to save sinners. So if you are a sinner, His grace is available to you for salvation. In other words, if Paul’s and John Newton’s sins were forgivable, so are yours. In fact, those who regard themselves as wretches are in a better position than many who consider themselves good and think a Savior is unnecessary. God’s grace comes to those who acknowledge their sin and see the need for salvation.
No matter how vast your sins, God’s grace is greater. The truth is, all human beings are wretches because no one can be good enough to earn acceptance by a holy God. You can either be condemned in your sins or turn to Christ, whose blood paid your penalty for sin so you could receive a full pardon. If you accept His gracious salvation, God may even use your past as a witness so that other sinners can be saved.
By Dr. Charles Stanley
Used by Permission
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