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Read Introduction to 1 Timothy

 

15 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.

 

Paul begins verse 15 with a call to an important statement. This is an important lesson for every believer to learn.

15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance,

Paul now quotes a saying popular or axiomatic in the church when he wrote First Timothy. This phrase indicates that well-formulated doctrine was already extant in the church at the writing of First Timothy. This doctrine was “worthy of all acceptance;” it was a faith to be trusted.

The “faithful saying” is a statement about the purpose of the incarnation. God is always faithful to His Word (1 Th 5:24). Everyone (“all”) should accept that fact with universal “acceptance.” Paul says, in effect, “The statement to follow is certain; you can accept it with confidence.”

that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,

Christ Jesus came in the incarnation from His eternal preexistence for the very purpose of saving sinners (Jn 1:9; 3:19; 6:14; 9:39; 1:27; 12:46; 16:28; 18:37). Christ came from the eternal past where He preexisted as God almighty. In humility, he assumed a human body. He did this to save sinners from their sins and the consequences of their sins (Ac 4:12; 16:30, 31; Ga 4:4-5; 1 Jn 4:14).

Jesus stepped foot into “the world,” the world of humanity, to “save sinners” from divine wrath (Mt 1:21; Lu 19:10). Human beings cannot satisfy that wrath; it was only Christ who could do that (Ro 5:8, 19).

of whom I am chief [foremost].

The apostle called himself the “chief” of sinners because he harshly and cruelly persecuted the church (1 Co 15:9; Eph 3:8). He was the foremost sinner and was not worthy to speak for Christ, much less the high calling of an apostle. The Greek word for “chief” means first.  On a list of sinful people, Paul was number 1. He was a religious sinner who revolted against Christ and His church. No sinner should despair of being forgiven by God; all we must do is look at Paul.

PRINCIPLE:

God’s grace toward the lost is unconditional.

APPLICATION:

Nothing in Paul’s life drew him to God. Christ took the initiative to save him based on His own work. There was no condition in Saul whereby God would save his soul. He had to come to the divine verdict that he was eternally lost without salvation from Christ.

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