Going Deeper 9-12-19

1 Timothy 1:12-17   I am grateful to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because he judged me faithful and appointed me to his service, 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, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.  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.  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.  To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

 

Paul’s life-journey was truly remarkable… one of the greatest turn-arounds in history.  He went from being “a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a man of violence” to being the most productive Christian missionary in the early church.  A case could be made for Paul as being the most important person (not counting Jesus) in all of human history.  And in this text, he gives all of the credit to God.

 

But just what drove Paul?  Yes, we can say that he was given an extraordinary measure of the Holy Spirit.  Yes, we could conclude that he received a truly remarkable conversion and call, the type of which would certainly change and motivate a man to do great things.  But I believe at the heart of it all was love.  (see 1 Corinthians 13)

 

Paul went from one extreme to the other, from being an enemy of Jesus to being overwhelmed by the incredible mercy and grace of God.  The one who has been forgiven little, loves little; the one who has been forgiven much, loves much.  (see Luke 7)  For God in Christ to forgive Paul for the extreme nature of his sin was beyond remarkable.  What wondrous love! 

 

And this must be the primary driver of our growth as children of God.  This is what can drive our individual and collective mission.  To experience the profound love of God can make ours a remarkable life-journey as well.  We are gifted to be children of God!

 

Mark Gabbert, Pastor

Zion Lutheran Church

Wellington, Colorado

 

"No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care."