Chief of Sinners

And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.  And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.  Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him to life everlasting.  Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”  1 Timothy 1:12-17 (KJV)

It is quite often we make judgments about other people’s sins.  There is a time and place for doing so, and that is after we have first examined our own lives; to be sure we are not guilty of sin; the same sin as the one we accuse.  We also need to know “I am a sinner” too, and be gracious and merciful in our judgment.

I heard the story of a preacher who had been experiencing great trouble in the church congregation.  Accusations of others sins; bitterness, and anger against others.  It had not bee too pleasant for any in that church; then, one morning following his sermon, the preacher announced, “In this evening’s service I am going to declare the greatest sinner  in this church, and the biggest problem of this congregation.  The people passed the day with anticipation.  They were eager to return to evening service that night.  “Who could it be?” was the chief thing on their mind.  “Who would the preacher declare to be the greatest offense to this church?”  It came time for the meeting, all eyes were looking elsewhere with questioning eyes, asking, “Is it my neighbor?”, “Is it the deacon?”, “Is it… ___________?”  The preacher stepped into the pulpit, began his sermon; and when he ended the message he ended by saying,  “I promised to tell you who the greatest sinner was this evening, and I will.  It is me.”

Paul the apostle saw himself as the chief of sinners.  That is how every Christian should view sin.  I have no right to condemn my brother, sister, or my lost neighbor.  We are to see ourselves as the greatest offense, the greatest sinner around.  When we see ourselves in the light as sinners having received mercy and grace, then we too can be merciful and gracious.

Just so some will know.  I am not advocating not making wise judgments, but doing so with mercy and grace.  “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

-T.A.

 

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