I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. – 1 Timothy 1:12
1 Timothy 1:12-16
12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service;
13 even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. And yet I was shown mercy, because I acted ignorantly in unbelief;
14 and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus.
15 It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.
16 And yet for this reason I found mercy, in order that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience, as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.
Do you ever hear a little voice that tells you that you are unworthy, hopeless, guilty, pitiful, and unusable to the Father? Perhaps the voice takes a different tack. You are impressed with the fact that you are weak, helpless, unable to get the job done, a total failure? You could never measure up to the Father’s standard. Or perhaps it’s about shame and guilt for past bad decisions, indiscretions, a wayward life, or defiant sin. You have unclean hands and an impure heart. Basically you are disgrace to the Father.
Way too often your heart response is, “I can never be what the Father wants me to be!” Your guilt and shame haunt you. It may be conscious and repeated during the day, or it may come at night in your dreams.
“That is the hounding voice of the devil – the accuser of the brethren! He tells you, ‘God can’t use you until you sit down and get this thing figured out. You can’t even come into his house until you’ve made yourself worthy!’“ (David Wilkerson)
Pretty much every one of the Father’s children has experienced this. William Bradford, the great Puritan minister, said, “I think sometimes I have the blackest heart in all of Europe.”
Accusations of the devil are a total lie. His only intention is to neutralize us and prevent us from serving our Father God.
We are in excellent company with the likes of Peter and Paul.
The apostle Paul was not only given a second chance but a whole new life in Christ. He never denied his abysmal past, but he never let it stop him from serving the Father.
1 Timothy 1:12-13
12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him,
13 even though I used to blaspheme the name of Christ. In my insolence, I persecuted his people.
REFLECT & PRAY
The fact is the Father is gracious, merciful, kind, and forgiving. He accepts us as we are. He transforms us as we serve Him.
Father thank You that You have totally forgiven me for all that I have done. You wiped the slate clean. I have been born again to a total new life. The past is past!
But there’s more.
Who was the worst sinner that ever lived? Immediately, we think about villains who were responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of people throughout history. Then our thoughts turn to Judas. Was it Judas? He betrayed Christ. No it was in fact the apostle Paul.
1 Timothy 1:15 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.
The King James Version puts it, Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. The competition to determine who was the greatest sinner of all has already been won. That prize was earned by none other than the apostle Paul, A.K.A, “the chief of sinners.”
Perhaps the apostle Peter was a close second. The Lord predicted that Peter would utterly fail because of the enemy’s influence. He will deny his best friend to Whom he had sworn his utmost loyalty. He claimed that he was ready to die for the Lord Jesus Christ.
31 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat.
32 but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”
Note that even in that dire prediction there is a glimmer of hope. He would turn again, repent, and strengthen others.
But indeed Peter betrayed Him and denied that he ever knew Him three times.
60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” Immediately, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed.
61 The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, “Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.”
62 And he went out and wept bitterly.
As the Lord Jesus Christ is being taken away to certain death, He looks directly at Peter and makes eye contact with him, at the very moment of the final denial.
What shame and guilt Peter felt. He went out and wept bitterly. How would you like to live with that?
Do our indiscretions and failures even come close to equaling those of two of the greatest of the apostles, Paul and Peter?
Indeed, Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Forget the past and determined to move forward in service to the King.