12 I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, 13 though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. 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 trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 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 the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
There is so much wisdom in this passage!
After all of that talk about the people trying to teach the Law and gain fame, Paul brings it all back to God’s mercy. He recognizes that any authority he has was not by his own prowess but by the grace of God.
Look at how he truly describes his past: blasphemer, persecutor, and an insolent opponent to God. He’s not bragging about his great honor as a super-apostle. He is being explicit about who he was before the grace of God came upon him.
If we take this attitude, we no longer judge other people. If you judged me by the things I did in the days before I got saved, you wouldn’t read another word! But the grace of the Lord overflowed for me. If that’s true for Paul, and it’s true for me and you, can’t it also be true for the people we meet on the street? As we walk along or watch the news and see all kinds of wickedness, can’t we be hopeful (and possibly take action) that they’ll be saved tomorrow?
Jesus came into the world to love and rescue all of those messed-up people we judge all day. Even more, we are some of those messed-up people that need daily salvation too!
And He has done it.
He has saved us.
All who call on the name of the Lord have been seated at the right hand of the Father in Christ Jesus.
When Jesus died on the cross for my sins, He died for a lot, but He also died for every one of them. Not a single sin wasn’t covered.
I can thank Him for that all day long.
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