Bible Reading: 1 Timothy 1:12-17
“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” [1 Timothy 1:15]
Having spoken about the complicated message of false teachers that brought confusion and division among Christians, Paul now shares in simplicity a little of his own testimony. The true Gospel that he preaches is about God’s grace, and it gives glory, not to men, but to God. It is so simple that even a child can understand it. The phrase, “simplicity of heart” was used of the early believers just after Pentecost [Acts 2:46]. Paul was deeply concerned that people lose the simplicity of the Gospel. Writing to the Corinthians, he said, “But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” [2 Corinthians 11:3].
Paul’s testimony is that God had saved him even though he had been a blasphemer, a persecutor of Christians and violently arrogant, and totally ignorant of the wrong that he was doing. God saw that he was a faithful man to the light he had and so entrusted him with the Gospel, putting him into the ministry. We see here what Paul was [v13a]; how he was saved [v13b-15] and what he became [v12,16]. It was grace of God that did this, and he gets so excited that he begins to quote one of the hymns of the early church [1:17]. It is the grace of God that saved us, makes us His servants, and worshippers!
Paul writes in the present calling himself the chief of sinners [verse 15]. God saved him and changed his attitudes over the years.
- In A.D. 49 when he had been a Christian for fourteen years Paul appear to be proud and arrogant. He wrote, “As for those who were held in high esteem – whatever they were makes no difference to me” [Galatians 2:6].
- In A.D. 55 Paul seems more humble and writes, “I am the least of the apostles” [1 Corinthians 15:9].
- Five years later he says, “I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people” [Ephesians 3:8].
- Now approaching death, and having walked with Christ for more than 30 years, he writes, “I am the worst of all sinners” [1 Timothy 1:15].
It is not complicated! It is God’s grace that saved Paul, called him into the ministry, and has been refining and changing him.
Why have we equated depth with that which is complicated and simplicity with shallowness?
If someone asked you what you believe as a Christian, how would you answer them as simply as possible? Why do you think that God has saved you?
What changes have you seen in your own heart, life and attitudes as you have walked with the Lord?