“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, ESV)
(1 Timothy 1:15-16, ESV)
Paul, who confessed to be Public Sinner Number One (see previous post), says he now has become the first and foremost demonstration of God’s perfect patience. God waited and waited while Paul was blaspheming and persecuting (read 1 Timothy 1:13). The depth of Paul’s sin only demonstrated the depth of God’s perfect patience. God was holding back His righteous acts against Paul’s sin for a very long time in order that he might be saved.
If God’s perfect patience applied to Paul and his day, how much more does it apply for this past 2,000 years of world history and especially to the world today in which we live. I don’t know about you, but I’m sick and tired of sin. I’m fed up of it as I face it day by day in my own life. I wish the temptations of the world, the flesh and the devil will go away! Moreover, I’m sick and tired of sins that I see around me that laughs at God, no fear and respect for God, and ignorance of God’s grace and perfect patience in this world. If a mortal man like me feel like this, I wonder how a holy God must feel who sees sin infinite times over with His all-seeing and all-knowing attributes. Surely, most surely God must be a God of grace, mercy and perfect patience! He is! But why?
The reason for God’s perfect patience is that “an example” might be given for “those who were to believe in him for eternal life” in this age of grace. Paul is saying that God’s grace in saving him was an example for every believer like you and me. This example is big enough to include any one no matter what the nature of his or her sin or how great it might be. This week I had a privilege of dealing with a college student who honestly thought he was too great a sinner to be saved by Christ. So I showed him 1 Timothy 1:12-17 and explained that Paul was the Public Sinner Number One and yet God shows His grace and mercy and saved him (and I gave my own testimony). Nobody need to fear that God wouldn’t receive him or her – only repent and believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
God “is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish,
but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:9)
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.