Today you should read: 1 Timothy 1:12-20
As you may know, the book of Timothy was written by Paul to his young disciple whom he loved dearly. As he begins this letter, he’s reflecting on where God has brought him from. Most of the time, I’m not a big fan of looking back. I think that’s a strategy Satan often uses to discourage us – to remind us of how bad we were and to tell us we haven’t changed. God is a God of our future (Jeremiah 29:11). But… sometimes, God will lead us to look back to see where He’s brought us from. That’s what’s happening in today’s reading.
As Paul reflects on his past he remembers… I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor [of Christians] and a violent aggressor. Not a pretty resume`. What were you before you met Jesus? What were you known for? What heinous things did you do? Even if you met Jesus as a child (like I did) you were still a sinner – broken from God and in need of God’s salvation.
Paul must have often run into the families of Christians he had killed or beaten. This must have been overwhelming for him.
Today Paul reminds us of God’s Mercy and God’s Grace.
Yet I was shown mercy… Mercy is when God doesn’t give you what you really deserve. What we really deserve is hell – all of us. But Jesus came to the world to save us.
It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners… v.15
Then Paul adds – …among whom I am foremost of all. When we take an honest look at ourselves and our sin – we all feel the same way. Isaiah said,
In the year of King Uzziah’s death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple. Then I said, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips. Isaiah 6:1,5
Stop and thank God right now for showing you mercy – not giving you what you really deserve.
…and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant. Grace is when God gives us what we don’t deserve. Paul recognized that God was gracious to him.
I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor.
What has God given you that you don’t deserve? That list is massive! Stop and thank Him now for all He’s given to you.
When Paul remembered God’s Mercy – not giving him what he really deserved and God’s Grace – blessing him beyond measure – his response is what yours will be too… praise to God!
Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. (v.17)
Take some time today and praise God for His gifts of grace and mercy. If you’ve never received God’s mercy by coming into a relationship with God through Jesus, this is a great time to invite Jesus into your life as your Savior.
By: Tim Parsons — Lead Pastor