“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners ~ of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
I always love “trustworthy sayings” in the Bible because when a saying is said to be “trustworthy,” to me that means it’s not too good to be true. And especially in this passage when Paul’s talking about how even the worst of sinners can be saved, to a lot of people that might seem too good to be true, but honestly, it’s not. You can trust it completely to be true. And because you can trust it completely to be true, it deserves “full acceptance” ~ it shouldn’t even be questioned. Then it tells us in one sentence the whole gospel: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” That is why he came, and this verse acknowledges the fulfillment of prophecy.
Sinners cannot save themselves, obviously, because they’re not perfect. A perfect lamb was required to be given as a sin offering, one without blemish or defect, and since every human on earth has sinned at least once (in most cases many times) in their lives, none of us are “good enough” to save ourselves from our own sin. The thing that we need saving from is the thing that keeps us from saving ourselves from it. (If that doesn’t make sense, just ignore that sentence.) We are all sinners, so Jesus came to save all of us. It doesn’t say he came to save “some of the sinners” or “the better sinners” ~ it says he came to save sinners in general, all sinners, and persecutors (as Paul was) are some of the worst sinners out there, so when he says “of whom I am the worst,” it may not be too far from the truth, but it also shows Paul’s humility, which was one of the gifts given to him by the Spirit through salvation. (More on spiritual gifts in another post!) But if the chief of sinners can become the chief of saints…how much hope does that give you for yourself?
Once again, Paul says that for the very reason that he was such a bad sinner, he was shown mercy (in other words, he deserved far worse, but God let it go) and became God’s greatest tool. That’s what God likes to do, you know. He takes the most broken, bruised, terrible sinner He can get and turns them into an amazing light for Him. It’s the badly broken ones that turn out the greatest ministers and evangelists because, like that one parable says, the one who owes much will love Him more than the one who owes less (Luke 7:41-47). Paul ~ and everyone else who came broken into the light ~ is living proof of God’s grace. Jesus bore so much from Paul, who was constantly provoking him (hence his “unlimited patience”). He is patient when you continue to screw up, and to believe in him is to believe he saved your soul, because that’s what he came for. And to believe in Jesus is to receive eternal life.
In verse seventeen, Paul is thanking God and acknowledging His goodness. As King, He reigns and has authority over us. He deserves our respect and obedience. As the King, He is the only One. There is no other. He is eternal ~ never-ending ~ immortal ~ He will never die ~ invisible ~ unseen by us, but then we shouldn’t see Him, because we aren’t worthy of even looking upon His perfection; we also don’t know where He is or what HE’s doing ~ and the only God ~ there is no other. He as God is higher than us. A “god” signifies wisdom, and being “the only God” makes him the only infinitely wise being.
And to Him we should show honor by bowing before Him and glory by acknowledging His power. Always. “For ever and ever” is almost like Paul asking God for the opportunity to always serve Him and bring Him pleasure. And when Paul says “amen” here, obviously it’s not the end, because there’s more than one chapter in 1 Timothy. Instead, he’s stamping the statement as something solid, something he really believes in and really meaning it.
In conclusion, I have a few things to add. 1) Those who realize how much they need God will want to praise Him. 2) We must not forget to give God the glory. And 3) God’s grace should fill us with admiration for Him.
Now, until next time, to Him be the glory for ever and ever. AMEN!