Chief Of Sinners 2
We should all consider ourselves the chief of sinners. I sometimes wrongly believe that the sins of others are worse than mine. That is what pride believes. Most of my sins are not known to anyone but me. Often I do not see the awfulness of my own sin. When I don*t consider how awful my sin is I am not as aware of the greatness of God*s mercy and forgiveness. The only sin that is truly worse than those I commit as a believer is the sin of rejecting Jesus. And I committed that one myself for about 4 decades. Paul and many others have properly known the nature of their sin and that knowledge kept them humble.
1 Timothy 1:15: This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
He does not say, *I was,* but *I am;* because, even when sin is pardoned, we ought to have the prospect of it still before our eyes, to keep us humble and sensible of the great grace of God towards us.
I am--not merely, *I was chief*. To each believer his own sins must always appear, as long as he lives, greater than those of others, which he never can know as he can know his own. Well might he infer where there was mercy for him, there is mercy for all who will come to Christ.
And I was as great a one as any other, yea, the chief. Paul, though converted, had his former sin of persecution before his eyes. Persecutors are some of the chief sinners. Of sinners brought to salvation I am the great president, having been so great a sinner as I have been and yet received to mercy.
(I was a persecutor before I was saved).
Not (I was), but (I am). *It is not easy to think of any one but St. Paul as penning these words*. In 1 Corinthians 15:9 he had called himself *the least of the apostles*. In Ephesians 3:8 he refers to himself as *the less than the least of all saints*. On occasion Paul would defend himself as on a par with the twelve apostles (Galatians 2:6-10) and superior to the Judaizers (2 Corinthians 11:5; 12:11). It is not mock humility here, but sincere appreciation of the sins of his life as a persecutor of the church of God (Galatians 1:13), of men and even women (Acts 22:4; 26:11). He had sad memories of those days.
Annotated Bible Notes:
This is the language of profound humility and godly sorrow.
Christ Jesus, the eternal Son of God, though originally possessed of divine glory with the Father, came with infinite condescension into the world in which we dwell, that he might save from final condemnation and ruin, miserable sinners; of whom it becomes me ever with all humility to confess that I am chief. For surely there never was nor ever will be a display of richer and more sovereign grace than that which recovered and transformed me.