This Day In History: 0000-03-10
March 10 – 1 Timothy 1:15-17
This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” – and I am the worst of them all. But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of His great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in Him and receive eternal life. All honor and glory to God forever and ever! He is the eternal King, the Unseen One who never dies; He alone is God. Amen.
How do we think of ourselves? Can we honestly say we believe that without Christ we are the “worst of sinners?”
I will never forget the day, many years ago; I had been reading through Genesis and found myself in Genesis 6. (I was using the NIV translation at the time) The Bible described the sin and debauchery of the world during those days just before the flood, and then in verse 5 it said this: “The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.” I remember feeling my stomach sink, and my heart start to race, and feeling like I couldn’t breathe for a few seconds because I suddenly realized that verse perfectly described my heart whenever I was acting on my own. I recognized with great sadness that even when I tried to be good in my own strength, my motives were always wrong. Always sinful. I realized, it was only when I was humble before God and acting in submission to His Spirit that there was ever anything truly good that ever came from me.
I remember praying right then and there to God, asking Him to strip me of myself and fill me with His Spirit. I begged Him to help me stay soft, to stay humble so I would never forget how wicked I am on my own. I pleaded with Him to make me quick to recognize His leading, quick to hear His voice, and most of all, quick to obey! I wish I could say I’ve gotten it right ever since then, but I can’t.
What I can say is that from that moment my life took on a new direction. I still mess up and act on my own daily, but more and more I can see the evidence of God’s faithful work in my heart. I can see that He has answered my prayer and worked diligently to point out to me what is offensive to Him. I can see that He has made His presence so much more known to me and has led me down His path with a firm but loving hand.
Let’s all be like Paul in these verses to Timothy. Let’s recognize that without Christ we are utterly sinful, but that (Praise God) Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners! Let’s recognize that the sanctifying work of Christ in our lives is meant to be a testimony pointing others to Him. If we pretend (or even actually believe) we’re not that bad, that we’ve really got it all together, then how will anyone ever see what a miracle it was for Christ to save us? How will the world recognize the transformation, and want God to do the same thing for them? Let’s humble ourselves today and ask God to show us the blackness of our hearts. Let’s ask Him to fill us with His Spirit and make us clean.