I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen (1 Timothy 1:12-17).
When it comes to God’s grace, no one is beyond hope. Paul had personally experienced the grace of God poured out on his life. It’s important to note that while Paul had condemned the false teachers (1 Tim. 1:4-11), Paul did not want to portray them as beyond hope. Although Paul would urge Timothy to exclude blasphemers from church fellowship (1 Tim. 1:20), Paul himself had been a blasphemer but was converted. The catalog of sins in 1:9-10 reminded Paul of his own sin (he called himself the worst of sinners, 1:15). However, Paul did not allow the memory of his past overwhelm him. Paul marveled that God would use a blasphemous, prideful opponent of Christianity to serve in spreading the Good News of salvation to his fellow Jews and to the Gentiles (see Acts 9:15; 11:25-26; 13:1-3).
We, too, are as guilty as Paul. We have nothing in our past about which to brag! We were lost and undone before the Lord, wicked to the core and deserving of Hell. That’s the way God found us. Paul stated that he had formerly acted “ignorantly.” He was not offering an excuse, rather he was simply stating the fact. Paul did not understand the ramifications of his actions. He thought he was earnestly and faithfully serving the Lord. He had rejected Jesus and the gospel because he was trying to earn his own salvation. In a state of blindness until Jesus came and opened his eyes! He was not beyond the reach of God!
Because of Jesus,