Monday, September 7, 2009

The Worst of Sinners

The Worst of Sinners
April 13, 2009
Luke 7:47 ". . . but he who has been forgiven little loves little."

The apostle Paul was one of the most influential and Christ-like persons in the Bible. His writings and contributions to the Scriptures outline God's heart every time we read his words penned over two thousand years ago. His model behavior and heroic acts of sacrifice inspire awe and action in our hearts and minds. Yet Paul never saw himself as such a model Christian. Paul, in his sober judgment, knew the condition of his heart was just as black with sin as our hearts are today. He was not an arrogant fool, thinking his life was free from sin or that he even sinned less than the next person. This great man of God was in touch with his humanity enough to realize why he was in need of a Savior.

If you read Paul's writings in the New Testament, he mentions himself many times, often commenting on his own person. Several of those comments reflect his view of his heart. If you read his first letter to Timothy, Paul refers to himself in a very negative manner. He calls himself the "worst of sinners." In another translation of the Bible, he calls himself the "chief of sinners." Paul certainly knew of the forgiveness of God, so why would he still consider himself such a rotten sinner? Paul's past was certainly full of sin, but Paul was aware of God's forgetfulness when it comes to sin. Paul was aware that God does not keep a record of our wrongs, especially the forgiven ones. So, despite Paul's lifestyle of preaching and living out God's will for mankind, and living a pretty clean life, why would Paul consider himself such a violent offender? He probably sinned far less than you and me.

Paul spent a great deal of time in a personal relationship with God. It was in this one-on-one time with God that Paul was made aware of God's Holiness, God's perfectness. It was from this time with God that Paul was able to reflect on every area of his own life and see his sin. The illumination of God's glory has a way of shining into the deepest, darkest corners of our lives. The more time we spend with God, the more we will be aware of our own sins, even the ones that others might consider teeny-tiny. But that illumination of our sin isn't meant to condemn. No, it is meant to make us aware of the need for a Savior, the need for God to apply the atoning sacrifice that washes away those sins. It is meant for us to allow God to work in our lives, making us more Christ-like every day.

This illumination of our sin is not meant to make us feel guilty, but to allow us the opportunity to change. It is a chance for us to realize there is a need for Christ's blood to cover our sins every moment of the day. It is from this realization that we should seek the Lord's forgiveness as we repent of our wicked ways. AND it is an opportunity to rejoice. This sounds a little odd, but we are not rejoicing in our sin, but in the application and acceptance of the forgiveness of God. Because as Jesus said, "He who has been forgiven little loves little." The more you are aware of your sin, the more forgiveness you will get. The more forgiveness you get, the more you will love and appreciate what Christ did for you on the cross. The more you appreciate Christ's work on the cross, the more you will rejoice. Paul had a lot to rejoice about.

We all have been forgiven much; some of us are simply more aware of it than others.

1. Are you aware that you are the worst of sinners?
2. Are you constantly in repentance and asking forgiveness?
3. Do you love and appreciate God more and more every day?

Add. Scriptures for Study: Ps 103:12, Matt 9:13, Luke 5:32, Rom 5:8, 1 Tim 1:15-16

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