Monday, October 22, 2007

Because of Christ I too can say “once”:

Following is a short personal study and commentary of 1 Timothy 1:12-17.

In verses 12 – 14, Paul points out that he was “once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man.” It is interesting that he uses the word “once”, thereby denoting past tense. At the time of this writing Paul is saying that he is no longer the man he used to be. He no longer thinks and acts in the same manner. He has changed.
I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. - (v.12-14)
Paul also clearly credits Christ Jesus who gave him strength (v.12) and the grace of our Lord which was poured out on him abundantly (v.14). What caused Paul to change? The grace of God and the strength obtained from Christ Jesus.

In verses 15 – 17, Paul is basically saying that if Christ Jesus can save and change me, then he can save and change anyone who would believe on him. Why did Paul use the present tense in verse 15 when he said, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst” right after using the past tense word “once”, or at one time, to describe his sinful ways? It appears as though he is underscoring his condition without Christ. He is still the worst of sinners if not for Christ in him.
But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. - (v.16)
Because of God’s most incredible love, mercy, patience, and grace, Paul takes a moment to give the King of Kings all the glory that is only due him. I too, sincerely, and with a humble heart, make this profession. For without Christ, I am also the worst of sinners. Without God’s powerful grace and Christ’s strength, I would not be able to speak in the past tense about any of my sinfulness. Without Christ nothing would have changed. But praise God that in him everything changes – in very real and noticeable ways!
Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen. - (v.17)

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