Sunday, September 7, 2008

Chief of Sinners

1 Timothy 1:15 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.

It is not often that I find a point of disagreement with something from my Pastor's sermons. This morning, however, I did find one area that we did not see eye to eye on. We did get a chance to discuss it after the service in a mutually edifying manner.

In preaching on "The Grace of our Lord" from 1 Timothy 1: 12-16, Pastor Voigt confirmed Paul's view of himself being the chief of sinners. He backed that up by referring to passages in Acts showing how Paul (when still known as Saul) persecuted the saints and tried to stop the growth of the Church and spreading of the Gospel.

My disagreement with this making Paul the chief of sinners stems from the fact that the Bible says that Paul did these things in ignorance and unbelief (1 Timothy 1:13 "Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.") In fact Saul, being a Pharisee, thought he was serving God. He would have believed himself righteous by way of keeping the law of Moses.

Now lets look at my life before salvation. I knew enough of the law, and even enough of the Gospel, to know that I was a wicked sinner. And I willfully continued in open rebellion against God for years upon years. In my book, that means that I far surpassed Paul as the worst of sinners. How do you see yourself?

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