1 Timothy 1:15-17
New International Version
15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Paul refers to himself as the chief of all sinners. He writes “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst”. Paul brings attention to this statement because he says here is a trustworthy statement that deserves full acceptance. The word trustworthy is Greek word pistos and it means trustworthy, faithful, trusting, believing. Paul is making a strong statement here and he is drawing attention to the grace of God.
Paul knew his past better than anyone else. He knew how many Christians he had thrown in prison, how many he had dragged out of their homes, how many he had either killed or had a part in killing. We know from scripture that Paul stood approvingly as Stephen was stoned to death (Acts 7:54-8:2). Paul had a very checkered past and was not deserving of God’s grace, salvation, or the calling placed on his life. But everything we receive from God is because of His goodness and mercy. We don’t deserve anything, but in His mercy He extends forgiveness.
Paul says he was shown mercy so that the worse of sinners could receive forgiveness from Almighty God. The patience of God is beyond our understanding. God takes no pleasure in the destruction of the wicked. His desire is that none would perish but all come to everlasting life. God goes to great lengths to move in the hearts of the most wicked of sinners, softening their hearts and turning them toward Him.
Paul’s life and testimony was a message of grace. Paul preached often on the grace of God and defended against the lies and deceptions of Satan. But it is because he was the message. Paul knew that he was undeserving of anything from Almighty God. That not only stands for Paul, but for all of us who would come to Christ and be used by God, we don’t deserve it. But God chooses to use us. He chooses to forgive us. He chooses to love us. Long before we every turn to Jesus and fully surrender our lives to Him, He is pursuing us and chasing after us. Yes, He knows our past and the depths of our sin, but through faith in Him, our sin is cast into the sea of forgetfulness. Almighty God chooses to forgive and forget our sin. Through faith in Christ, it is as if we have never sinned.
Paul now lays out the awesome attributes of Almighty God. No matter how much we think we understand or know God, we have only begun to scratch the surface. King Eternal means that God is sovereign. He is the unchanging one. He holds all things together by His mighty power (Col 1:17). Immortal means that God has no beginning or end. He has overcome death and the grave. Nothing can stop the living God. All things are in His hands.
He is the invisible one. We are unable to see Him with our physical eyes. We may not see God, but we can see the effect of His power and His grace. We may not be able to see the wind, but we can see the effect of the wind. He is the Only God. There is no other God. Many will claim there are many gods and many ways to heaven. But there is only one way, and it is through Christ alone. There is only one God, and He is the creator of Heaven and Earth. He is the God of the bible, and He is the only true Living God.
All honor and glory are due Christ alone forever and ever. There is never a moment when we should stop praising and glorifying Jesus Christ. Everything we need and everything we have is because of Jesus Christ. Paul only could praise Jesus because he knew that without Jesus, he had nothing. All we can do is praise and glorify Jesus when we come to a right understanding of what Christ has done for us. May our hearts and minds be fixed upon Jesus on a daily basis.