Chief among Sinners

(12) “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, (13) although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man: but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. (14) And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. (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. (16) 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. (17)Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen” (1 Timothy 1:12-17)
I was not saved at a young age. I knew about Jesus, but I did not have a personal relationship with Him. God always held a special place in my heart, but my heart was not devoted to Him. I became saved December 31, 2008. It was that night I begged Jesus to fill my heart and guide me in the right direction. It was a very hard and strange night for me. To become a Christian was such a long leap for me. For all of my adult life I had been anything but a Christian.

Before I became saved I was a practicing pagan. I was as sexually immoral as you can get. I didn’t believe in monogamy. I thought marriage was nothing more than a piece of paper. I openly mocked “Jesus freaks” to anyone who would listen. I corrupted the souls of many to sin, even the soul of the man I love. I swore frequently. I believed all Christians were hypocrites and verbally persecuted them due to the persecution I received from them. An eye for an eye, right? All in all I was very, very far from a Godly person but I believed myself to be so righteous.

All that being said I find myself relating very well to Paul. He went a step further than I did; he hunted down Christians to have them stoned to death. God not only forgave him, but Jesus made Paul into His disciple. This seems to be a common theme in the love of our Lord. Moses, the author of the first books in the Old Testament was a murder. Look what God did with him. Then there is Judas. Jesus knew Judas would betray Him to His torture and death. Christ still took Judas in, taught him, loved him, washed his feet, and considered him a friend. He did all of that knowing what was in Judas’ heart.

God’s love for us is impossible to really comprehend. Every day I give Him at least 15 new reasons to turn His back on me. Every day, every second, He washes me clean in the blood of His Son. Every moment He welcomes me into His arms to comfort me from the destruction my own sin has caused. Paul says He is chief among sinners, but I think I would give him a run for His money. And it breaks my heart to know that tomorrow I will do at least 15 more things to break Christ’s heart.

I don’t say any of this with pride. I say it with humility and shame. I have been asked several times how could I possibly be turned into a Jesus freak when I, once, so vehemently hated them. I don’t know if people expect some miraculous answer or explanation. There was no great thunderbolt from the sky, no parting of the sea, nor any burning bush. I went to a good, God loving, Bible teaching Baptist church. I picked up a Bible and actually read it. I got to know Jesus, the man who so eluded me and frustrated me before. In finding, and knowing Christ I became saved. It changed everything. My Lord and Savior completely changed me.

Despite the very fact I am saved I still sin. Despite the fact I have begged Jesus into my heart; I still sin. Despite the fact I have devoted my life to God; I still sin. Despite the fact I seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit on a daily basis; I still sin. I am a sinner. There is no escape of that. There is no changing that. I am just like every person reading this. We all sin. I am not worthy of the love Christ Jesus so freely gives to me. I am completely undeserving of spending eternity in Heaven with my heavenly Father and my Savior; but Christ gave up His life so I could.

And that is what the devotional in “Our Daily Bread” is about today. It is about all the things I am guilty of, but still I am saved. Being saved doesn’t make me better than the unsaved. I am not better than you. I am just forgiven. I am saved from an eternity in hell. The grace of God has washed me clean. I am not washed clean of my sins through any act of my own. The blood of the Lamb keeps me white as snow. I can’t forget that. I can’t let you forget that. No matter how far I am from the life I lived before, it is no where near the perfection it should be.

So thank you Lord. Thank you for loving me with a love more intense than what I can understand. Thank you for never giving up on me. There you for always being there for me. Thank you for always humbling me through Your words and teachings so that I may be a better witness for you and to you. Thank you for all my blessings. Thank you for my friends and family. Thank you for the man I love. Thank you for being an unchanging God who always seeks out the good in all of us. You alone are worthy of our worship and praise. You alone are the One true, and ever living, God. Amen.

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