We are not saved by what Jesus taught, and we are certainly not saved by what we understand Jesus to have taught. We are saved by Jesus Himself. — Robert Farrar Capon

Grace for sinners             1 Tim 1: 12-15

 

Have you ever given someone a wave out in the line up? this lump of water has travelled across countless miles of ocean and here it is standing up in front of you you are perfectly positioned ready to go. Instead you turn to the person inside you and say go this waves yours. A gracious gesture for sure an act of generosity and kindness unwarranted you had the position  but gave them the wave…

Here  Paul is God gobsmacked by grace… We have to remember that this is a letter. Originally written for Timothy and the church so the paragraph breaks and the headings as well as the numbering system came later. Paul is following on from encouraging Timothy to ‘stay there’ and ‘command’ false teachers to stop. Vs 11 concludes with this statement… the glorious gospel of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted. 

Vs 12 flows from that point… I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service,

Paul stands in awe and wonder at Gods grace and his gracious act of ‘strengthening’, him, ‘considering him faithful’, and ‘appointing him to service’. Why is this such an amazing thing because all of this comes from God despite who Paul had been…13 though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief,

Paul here describes himself as very much in the list of law breakers in vs (9-10). Paul is a Jew, a former Pharisee as well as a talented teacher of the law. He, just like the men described as ‘false teachers’ (vs 3) had used the law in the wrong manner. By doing so Paul recognised he was vs 15 ‘the foremost of sinners’.

His false teaching and incorrect use of the law of God, produced wrongly directed religious zeal in Paul. He actively worked against God and persecuted his people.

It is no wonder that Paul is awestruck by Gods grace… 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. He gives reason for this grace in vs 16 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.17 To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honour and glory forever and ever. Amen. 

Gods grace flows abundantly to him so that God in Jesus may be glorified. How often do testimonies uplift and glorify the recipient of grace, rather than the giver of grace and salvation. WE should be careful how we tell our testimony and who it glorifies….

Paul uses this great illustration of the Grace. Mercy and Love of God. To teach and reinforce a great truth. 5 times in his letters to young pastors aul uses this phrase…’The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance’. ( 1 Tim 1:15; 3:1; 4:9; 2 Tim 2:11; Titus 3:8 ) Each time this phrase reinforces a great plain truth.

15 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.

This a direct counter to the false teachers who believe themselves to be righteous, (which was the position Paul was saved from.)

Lets consider this truth… ‘Jesus came into the world’. God himself, came into the world, but he came in human form as Jesus the son of God. (Jn 1: 14; Col 1:15 – 20) God in Jesus embraced humanity, in all its pain, frailty, suffering, joy and mess.

Why did Jesus come… ‘to save sinners’. Jesus took upon himself human form to save sinners. To become the one and only atoning sacrifice for sin through his death upon a cross. The magnitude and simplicity of this statement should never be twisted or eroded.

* Have you received and known the grace of God in and on your life?

* Are you gobsmacked by it, awestruck at Gods acceptance of you or do you think you deserve it?

“Grace doesn’t sell; you can hardly even give it away, because it works only for losers and no one wants to stand in their line.” ― Robert Farrar Capon,

We are not saved by what Jesus taught, and we are certainly not saved by what we understand Jesus to have taught. We are saved by Jesus Himself. — Robert Farrar Capon

The people who tend to be the most gracious are those who know how badly they need grace  — Tullian Tchividjian

“The people who tend to be the most gracious are those who know how badly they need grace — Tullian Tchividjian”