I used to think I was the worst of sinners, so I was pleased when I read this from Paul.
“Here is a trustworthy saying which deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.”
(1 Timothy 1:15-16)
Ever wonder why, as a Christian, God allows you to sin?
Ever surprised when you do?
I’ve stopped being surprised. I know myself. As Shakespeare says in Hamlet:
“To know a man well were to know himself.”
Isn’t it comforting to know that God knows us, too? That nothing we do, or think, or say can surprise Him. He knows exactly who we are – even in the deepest, darkest abyss of our humanity… and yet He still loves us!
We know this, because:
“Even while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Now, if He loved us while we were still sinners, how much more as children of God – sanctified, purified and made holy?
Not that we can make ourselves holy. That’s the beauty of grace. Even if we mess up now, we’re still perfect in His eyes, because of what Christ did.
When God sees us, He sees the righteousness of Jesus.
“He made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of Christ.”
(2 Cor 5:21)
So, even when we sin, to God, we are completely clean – ‘bathing in Christ’s blood’ as Spurgeon says.
We will never, ever be sinners again, in God’s eyes, thanks to the blood of Christ!
Notice Paul says when we were sinners.
Now we are not. As Paul says in Romans 6:
“We died with Christ and everyone who has died has been freed from sin.”
So, does this give us an excuse to go on doing what is unhealthy, what is bad for us spiritually, things which hurt ourselves or others? Does it give us a ‘license’ to sin?
Joseph Prince says God doesn’t want us to take the cross and whack him around the head with it.
Yet if we do fall, if we do sin, we are completely forgiven, once for all, by the cross.
So why does God let us keep sinning?
Remember John’s words:
“No one who is born of God continues to sin. And He cannot sin because He has been born of God.”
(1 John 5:18)
This is the amazing truth of GRACE.
Once we are children of God we have been set free from the prison of sin. We are no longer under the law. We cannot break the law in God’s eyes. The law has been fully met in us, because of Christ.
“This is the mystery of the gospel,” says Paul. “Christ in you.”
Christ lives in us, and Christ is perfect. And because Christ is perfect, so are we.
“As He is, so are we in this world.”
Christ crucified our sin on the cross. The raging fire of His love consumed it.
We have been absolutely set free from sin, once for all.
Men love to remind us of our sin, but God says:
“I have swept away your offenses like the a cloud, your sins like the morning mist.”
We can never be accused of sin again.
“And if it is God who justifies us, who can throw a charge against us?”
Yet even if we do mess up in our lives, and do what can destroy us or others, Jesus promises He will never leave us.
We are all on a healing journey. Sin is a sickness. If we choose something, anything other than Him to heal our pain, we are seeking healing from the wrong physician.
Jesus is the Great Physician. As He said:
“Healthy people don’t need a doctor, but sick people do. I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
So, next time we find ourselves seeking a healing balm from anywhere but Jesus, let’s turn our hearts back towards Him.
And why does God save the worst of sinners, like Paul, and like me?
“The grace of God was poured out on me abundantly…so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe in Him and receive eternal life.”
(1 Tim 1:14-16)
We are examples of God’s GRACE.