1 Timothy 1:12-17
1:12 I am grateful to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because he judged me faithful and appointed me to his service, 13 even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a man of violence. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the foremost. 16 But for that very reason I received mercy, so that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display the utmost patience, making me an example to those who would come to believe in him for eternal life. 17 To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
Paul is sharing a mature confession of faith lessons he has learned about sin and grace
Timothy, Sin is a big deal and it will kill you if you let it.
- Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners
- For this reason we receive mercy
- To make us the example
- Of those who believe in him for eternal life.
Sinners—of whom I am the foremost.
Sin is our broken nature.
We are created with the grace of God into a broken state.
All persons are in need of grace.
What about the infant? What about those who cannot speak for themselves?
Are All persons are in need of God’s grace.
Most folks will say, “Sin” is not my vice, I will let Jesus fix it for me. (Not that Jesus is not the answer, Jesus is our hope and salvation, but not a warranty relationship Jesus provides)
We keep breaking the relationship, and Jesus lifetime warranty will clean up the mess so we can get back to doing what we want.
We have the top ten list of commandments
Or the general rules of decency
Or the acceptable goal of being good people, most of the time.
All these point to our perceptions of our behavior and thoughts
Paul is teaching and reminding that sin is the reality of our brokenness. And with out Jesus covering our gap, all the time, we would be lost. We are not patched to keep sinning.
Sin is the irresistible struggle to yield our will to God’s.
Sin is the state of our self and nature
and we can no more satisfy it by our self than one meal satisfies a lifetime of hunger, thus we seek nutrition every day.
EVERYday without God, we find our effort alone is never enough
Sin and Grace
God gives us grace, preventively… Enough grace to know good from evil, right from wrong, truth from lies.
Enough grace to cover infants and those who cannot speak or understand for themselves. Grace is enough.
Sin is the neighborhood into which we are born.
We can work hard, learn our lessons, and follow the rules
And some day get out of this neighborhood but
When we move to every neighborhood life in God take more than our efforts and intentions.
It takes Jesus making whole what we both inherited as broken and what we keep breaking along the way.
Sin is magnetic. Apart from God, we are drawn to that which is not of God.
This attraction is sometime blamed on the Devil, Satan, evil but much of the time we don’t need any encouragement to sin, we place distance and barriers between ourselves and God all on our own.
God’s Spirit has it’s own magnetism.
It is through grace, that God is drawing us to God’s heart
It is through the Holy Spirit, that our spirit is drawn toward God’s Spirit.
So, Yes we know the answer, Give Me Jesus,
Now I don’t have to worry about sin any more
We live in a spiritual battle throughout our whole lives
The history struggle of free will choosing God’s heart or our own hear rages throughout history.
We are born as God’s good creations, but we are born into a world and relationship that is broken and divided.
Away from God, we tend to love
- our abilities,
- our needs,
- our goals,
- our labor,
- our status, our position,
- our wealth,
- our belonging,
- our future, our plans more than we love God’s.
God’s simple invitation is to be our God and we be God’s People.
This means that we choose to trust, follow, believe and submit ourselves to God in all things.
- Over time we have made Sunday into God’s day and the other days of the week are our days.
- Over time we have made a tithe God’s part, and the 90% remaining our wealth.
- Over time we have taken laws and commandments meant to give focus and boundaries into guidelines and suggestions to work around.
- Over time, left to our own thinking we allow logic, science, mathematics, physics to guide our morality, rather than the God who created and ordered these gifts.
- Over time, left to our desires, we will chose what pleases and satisfies our personal needs over the needs of God’s or others.
- Over time, left to our own strength and defining, we choose alliances with others that allow us to keep power, control and management of life in our hands rather than in God’s hands.
- From the beginning and even now, we are given one commandment. Love God’s choice for our lives over our own choice.
When our sin is confronted, we the light of truth shines on our darkness, we hid just as Adam and Eve attempted to hide from God.
One would think that over the millennia we would have learned a better response, but the conditions are the same.
Our defense is our culture of fellow sinners:
- So we gather with others who likewise sin and develop coalitions of sinner so that we don’t see the separation from God as clearly.
- See what everyone is doing.
- I’m ok, you’re ok.
- Look the opinion polls, 95% of people in our group think it’s no problem to do whatever we want to do because we are in the majority.
- Because we have proof, algorithms and science to prove we are right and we have no need for God. We can handle this on our own.
If fact, we become so cleaver, gifts, talented, and schooled in defending pathways that separate us from God that we do not miss God at all… or at least until we are challenged or our temples shatter in the face of truth.
Recall how Pilate dismiss truth when talking with Jesus before the crucifixion. What difference does truth make to us when we have our own truths to defend our ways sin.
What do we do with sin?
First, we acknowledge that separation and brokenness between ourselves in God is not in our best interest.
Ref. “The wages of sin are death”
LORD HAVE MERCY ON ME A SINNER, a surrender/confession
MAKE ME YOUR INSTRUMENT and EXAMPLE/WITNESS
Jesus, himself, tell the disciples and us, that this is exactly the case, that Jesus, because Jesus has come to be our means of grace, our debt for sin paid, our hope of new life, that if we keep the original commandment, God will make a way through Christ for all who accept and keep the one invitation.