"A FAITHFUL SAYING"
"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"-1 Timothy 1:15
Paul felt himself to be the chief of sinners. He did not feel himself to be just one of the many sinners, he felt to be the worst of the worst. This was not a one time experience that he felt prior to his conversion and baptism, this was the way he felt all the time. If one were to tell their doctor, "Sir, I feel to be the chief of sinners and I am prone to depressed spirits from time to time", they would probable be encouraged to take some pill or be labeled with some big word. Yet, Jesus pronounced a blessing upon those who feel this way, "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Surely, this faithful saying describes emotions and feelings that the world does not know. The true Christian identifies well with the apostle for they, too, have felt to be the chief of sinners.
One of the most striking features about this feeling is that it knows no boundaries. Paul was a rich and influential man. Yet, this feeling that the world would call a sickness, came upon him in the midst of his prosperity. It was so powerful that he saw his wealth, his position, his birthright and everything that the world would envy, as dung. Modern expositors have toned down this word, dung, but in reality it is what we shovel from the horse stalls in the animal kingdom. Rich people, poor people, adults and children, people from all races and backgrounds meet together in this place when the Lord touches them with His powerful and influential Spirit. There is always a change in a persons life!
Another striking feature about this feeling that Paul describes was that it did not begin in church. As a matter of fact, he was going anywhere but to church. He was going to kill people who were in church! I do not say this to diminish the blessing and responsibility we have in attending the Lord's house, but to highlight the difference between the Lord's work and man's. It is the small still voice, the conviction of the conscience that turns us around. Man can take no credit for this. It is after the Lord gets hold of us that we become seekers, we want to know more about this God who has shown us who and what we really are. It is under the sound of the gospel that we discover why we feel this way and we learn the cure for our malady. It is Christ Jesus and Jesus alone that fills this aching void and to our souls, He becomes the lily of the valley; the pearl of great price; the chiefiest among ten-thousand; and a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
So, we come to our final point and then we shall leave you for the day. What kind of sinner did Jesus come to save….for all people are sinners? There are only two classes of sinners. Those who know it, who realize their sin, those who know what I am talking about and those who do not. It seems that the apostle was of the first category. Jesus shows His children what they are so that they will come to Him! And what about you? Are you a sinner? Has Jesus shown you what you are by nature? What are your sins? Can you identify some of them? If we can answer in the affirmative, we have great evidence that Christ is ours and we are His, and we have great hope, because "this is a faithful saying".