“And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 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 longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”
I Timothy 1:12-17 NKJV
One would think that a person in Christ would mature and, in time, feel good about themselves. We are, afterall, a new creation, new men and women, forgiven and made clean. I have found that as I move closer to the Lord and His Holy Spirit refines and matures me, that I feel more sinful. It is not that I am doing more sin, actually far, far less. It is that I am closer to the light of Jesus. Any sin in me is magnified, and stands out against the righteousness of Christ.
It is like going out in a shirt, found on the floor in the dark. You can’t tell if it is clean or dirty. In the brightness of the sun, the chili stain from dinner the night before, stands out, and brings embarrassment. In the light of the Son, my sin stands out. I am broken over it, as I remember that Jesus went to the cross for that sin.
Paul was the epitome of religious piety, a sadducee, born of the tribe of Benjamin, circumcized on the eigth day. He had all the earmarks of one standing tall. A pillar in the eyes of men. He was brought low by the righteouness of Christ. In that humility, he was greatly used by God.
I can say that it is a privilege to be able to serve the Lord in the way that He has provided. I never take for granted that I am able to approach the Lord in prayer. I remember that Jesus’ atoning death on the cross provided me access to Holy of Holies, as the veil was torn in two, from top to bottom. It is not by my righteouness that I enter in. Not by my pedigree, which I have none, not by my reputation, which I have none, not by my self attained righteousness, but by the God/Man Jesus who went to the cross, paying for sins not His own.
I am undone when I think of it. Like Paul, I was shown mercy. I often feel that if Jesus can save one such as me, He can save anyone. If you are one who does not believe, know that you too can be forgiven, you too can know the mercy of our great Savior. I know that sin feels good, for awhile.
I also know that it tears one down a little bit at a time. It is like having an issue of blood, like being slowly drained of life, one sinful moment at a time. There is always the drag of shame, as sin is hidden. Even for those who wear it like a badge of honor, there is the loss of identity, as the sin becomes who you are. The sin becomes your master.
There is freedom in forgiveness.
Believers, never cease to tell of the great mercy of our God, the story of how He saved you, how He is changing you, and how He can do the same for others. Remember that you too were sinners bound for hell. Speak to those lost in sin with empathy, and understanding. Pray the Holy Spirit convict and draw them to salvation in Jesus.
Time is slipping away. There is no positive spin. God is going to judge this world.
THE PRAYER CHAIR IS OPEN! Send me your requests!