Good News for the Worst Sinner of All

1 Tim 1_15

Onetime a young employee secretly misappropriated several hundred dollars of his business firm’s money. When this action was discovered the young man was told to report to the office of the senior partner of the firm. As he walked up the stairs toward the administrative office, the young man was heavy hearted. He felt like the biggest sinner who ever lived. He knew that the consequences would be devastating: He would not only lose his position with the firm, but he feared the possibility of legal action against him. His whole world was going to collapse.

Upon his arrival in the office of the senior executive, the young man was questioned about the whole affair. He confessed to the allegations of his misconduct. Then the executive asked him a strange question: “If I keep you in your present capacity, can I trust you in the future?” The worker brightened up a bit and said, “Yes, sir, you surely can. I’ve learned my lesson.”

The executive responded, “I’m not going to press charges, and you can continue in your responsibility.” The employer concluded his conversation with the employee by stating, “I think you ought to know, however, that you are the second man in this firm who succumbed to temptation and was shown leniency. I was the first. What you have done, I did. The mercy you are receiving, I received.” (Don Mallough, Crowded Detours)

The young employee wasn’t the only person to feel like the worst sinner in the world. The Apostle Paul said he was the chief of all sinners: “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,” (1 Timothy 1:15). He also declared that he was “less than the least of all saints,” (Ephesians 3:8). Paul was being humble. Sure, we can think of a lot worse sinners than the apostle. And yet Paul counted himself the worst of them because, just as he confessed, “I persecuted the church of God,” (1 Cor. 15:9).

We can all feel like the worst of the worst whenever we realize the sins we commit. But the fact is, God’s mercy supersedes our sinfulness. As the young employee received mercy even in the worst time of his life, so do we through the grace of God in Christ Jesus. That’s why in his case the Apostle Paul went on to say, “Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting,” (1 Tim. 1:16).

Paul is stating that as great a sinner as he was, God’s mercy through Jesus Christ is even greater. The patience of Jesus demonstrates that if the Lord could have mercy on a sinner such as Paul, then other sinners like the young employee as well as you and I can follow his pattern and have hope, as well. For all of us sinners, that’s good news if we believe in Jesus. In fact, it gives us reason to rejoice especially in those low times when we feel like we are the chief of all sinners.

Good News to YOU!
Pastor Michael


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