13 …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.
Part of this passage is worth revisiting today. The grace and the love of Jesus that are poured out on us are just that: grace and love. While we are predisposed to make something into rules to boast about our obedience, (ever since Adam and Eve!) the fact is that whatever rules we make, we end up breaking.
This is why we need a savior and why we need a savior that is fueled by compassion and mercy. Note also how Paul describes the reason for his bad behavior:
“Because I had acted ignorantly and in unbelief”
There is a whole trend in human nature that thrives on us correcting one another. I had 2 otherwise kind ladies yelling at me last weekend about not having a sticker on my kayak. They weren’t conservation officers, but boy were they set on demanding I get a $5 sticker for my inflatable watercraft. Yesterday, at the Fall Festival, some caring man was persistent in telling me I’d get my car towed if I parked on the bridge over Pigeon Creek. He didn’t care that I’d parked there safely for 7 years. I was gonna get towed!
But look at how Jesus changes us and convinces us. He sees that we just don’t know that He’s the Savior of the World and everything we could ever need. In our ignorance and unbelief, He shows us kindness and mercy and leads us into faith in Him. Sometimes the patience of God is shown before we ever believe. Sometimes it’s shown once we start believing but don’t know how to live in the newness of His life.
Sometimes He shows His patience and kindness in us after we’ve been walking with Him for decades and there are still areas where we have to grow.
He is the King of the Ages, immortal, and eternal. He is not in a hurry to make the changes in us that we want to make, but He is persistent and faithful to make the changes in us that He wants to make.
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