Monday, March 26, 2007

In 1 Timothy 1:15, Paul makes the (familiar) statement:

1 Timothy 1:15 15 It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.

One thing worthy of note regarding this verse is that Christ Jesus came into this world as a man (yet still fully God) for one purpose, to glorify the Father in redeeming a people purchased for His own possession. Jesus Christ is that Redeemer.

Yet in this verse, Paul's argument and reasoning is marvelous. For we must keep this in its immediate context. Remember that in verses eight through eleven he writes:

1 Timothy 1:8-11 8 But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 9 realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous man, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers 10 and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted.

In these verses, Paul notes that the Law is not for a righteous man - as if there were even a righteous man on the earth. Of course, we know from Scripture that there is NOT one who does righteous all the time:

Ecclesiastes 7:20 20 Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins.

Psalm 143:2 2 And do not enter into judgment with Thy servant, For in Thy sight no man living is righteous.

Romans 3:23 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

1 Kings 8:46 46 "When they sin against Thee (for there is no man who does not sin) and Thou art angry with them and dost deliver them to an enemy, so that they take them away captive to the land of the enemy, far off or near;

So the point is made, there is NO one who continually does righteousness all the time. Everyone is tainted by sin. Paul proves this in vv.8-11. The law was NOT given for a righteous man (of course not, cause there is not a righteous man on earth). So, the Law was given for the lawless, rebellious, for the ungodly and then the sinners (Gk. Hamartolois). This is exactly the same word Paul uses in verse fifteen in speaking of those for which Christ Jesus came to save (Gk. Hamartulous).

Thus, in verses eight to eleven, Paul shuts up all humanity under sin (cf. Galatians 3:22 22 But the Scripture has shut up all men under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe).

Paul here, with his wise reasoning, after shutting all human beings under sin declares that there is a Deliverer who came specifically to save these sinful beings. So when Jesus came into the world to save sinners, this is NOT some abstract, vague and pithy statement about some people who are really bad. No. This has to do with you; with me; with every single human being in the world who can be characterized by one word - sinner.

To God be the glory for his infinite wisdom and grace in saving a bunch of sinners for Himself and purchasing people by His own blood and for His own possession.

1 Timothy 1:17 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

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