Paul in writing here in verse 15 says to Timothy (KJV) 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.
Chapter CONTEXT from Matthew Henry Complete Commentary: After the inscription (v. 1, 2) we have, I. The charge given to Timothy (v. 3, 4). II. The true end of the law (v. 5-11), where he shows that it is entirely agreeable to the gospel. III. He mentions his own call to be an apostle, for which he expresses his thankfulness (v. 12-16) IV. His doxology (v. 17). V. A renewal of the charge to Timothy (v. 18). And of Hymenaeus and Alexander (v. 19, 20).
In order to fully understand the Context of our main text v.14 for today I think it helps to read along with verses 12-17. Paul has in previous verses 3-11 laid out a case warning against false teachings before switching gears so to speak and focusing directly on Christ, v.12. Relating his own former outrageous behaviors against believers yet he (Paul) was shown mercy v.13. In v.14 The grace of our Lord [His amazing, unmerited favor and blessing] Paul recognized that it is only due to that allowed him to change into the man he is today.
Finally our Main Text v.15, This is a faithful and trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance and approval, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost. Here we have two important themes of Christian Doctrine. The First is that of the role of Christ Jesus. He came to save sinners not to make friends, not to make our lives easier, but to save souls from eternal damnation. The second Doctrine is made clear when Paul announces himself amongst the Chief of all sinners that Christ saved.
1 Timothy 1:15 is a great summary statement of Christmas good news: “The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” His humble birth, obedient life, substitutionary death, and powerful resurrection covers the sins of his people and saves us from the loss of any good and precious thing and from the bondage of any evil and undesirable thing.
And notice the context of this great saying. It’s Paul’s own personal testimony of how he had been changed. Verse 13: “I formerly blasphemed and persecuted and insulted Christ.” Why did Christ choose the chief persecutor of the church to become the chief missionary of the church? The answer to that question is given very clearly in verse 16: he did it so that this morning you would grasp the message of Christmas—that no one who trusts Christ is beyond the reach of change. “I received mercy for this reason, that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience for an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.” Christ picked the chief of sinners to demonstrate to you today what his mercy and power can do in your life. Don’t belittle the mercy of God by saying that you cannot be changed!
When Paul calls the power of Christ which changed him from great sinner to great apostle—when he calls this power “mercy,” he exalts not himself but the Savior. The Christmas gift of change is always a gift, and never a wage. It can never be boasted in. It can be sought after the way a helpless, hungry man seeks food; and it can be accepted by faith. But it can never be earned. And so none of the changes God gives can be the basis of pride. The more like Christ you become, the more you exalt Christ and not yourself.John Piper https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/christ-jesus-came-into-the-world-to-save-sinners
In Verses 16-17 we find an interesting statement from Paul where he implies that it was because of his sinful past that he was able to find mercy from God. As Paul puts it in Romans, “Christ died for the ungodly” (Rom. 5:6). Further we know Jesus Himself declared in Luke 5:27-32, that he came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. Knowing Paul’s background as a persecutor of Christians, prior to his conversion his statement makes much more sense.
It is important for all to know and understand that Christ Jesus not only came to call sinners to repentance but that he Identified With Sinners.
Thursday, December 08, 2022
Christ’s Identification with Sinners
“. . . Made in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:7).