Paul the Apostle had many years of Christian Ministry under his belt and very senior in the faith, when he wrote a letter to a young Pastor named Timothy.
The portion I'm interested to explore is from 1 Timothy (the first letter written to Timothy), the first chapter and verses 15-16. This is a bit like the critical summary.
"This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. However for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all long suffering; as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for life everlasting."
As we unpack the concepts, we grasp its significance.
"This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptance"
Paul is saying, this is something you can rely on.
"that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners"
The purpose of Jesus Christ coming to live amongst His creation is to save sinners. God's desires a relationship with us but sin blinds us and holds us back from seeking God. Jesus came to deal with humanity's essential problem, our broken relationship with God.
"of whom I am chief"
This poses a really important question. Why would the Apostle Paul say he was the worst of all sinners? Follow me on this – Paul like you and I had a voice deep inside (conscience) and we know 'deep down' when we sin (that part is not rocket science). Paul says he considers he is worst of all. Here's a man who walked with the Lord, taught the Scriptures, and yet still he sins, and therefore considers he's the worst of all. Sounds like me …. as I too feel like this.
"However for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all long suffering"
Yet Paul recognises that it is precisely that he is a sinner, to whom Christ offered mercy and forgiveness. This applies to us too!
"as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for life everlasting."
This is the process. First, we recognise we are a sinner. Second, we accept all that Jesus Christ has done on our behalf, in his life, death and resurrection. Third, we are assured through Jesus Christ that we have life everlasting.
Statement: The man or woman who turns their back on this offer is saying, 'Stop, not interested!' These are the saddest of all words and breaks the heart of the Lord.
On the other hand, the angels rejoice when even one sinner repents and falls at the feet of Jesus for His wonderful Salvation. This is what we call Grace!