1 Tim. 1:15-16
The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.
We can speak of salvation factually by citing scriptural teaching on what it is and how it works. We can present it as a true concept with rules and parameters, something that can be received but not earned. For all of the ways that we can explain the ins and outs of justification through Jesus Christ, there remain stumbling blocks for many. One such stumbling block is the false whisper that tells a person, “you are too far gone to hope in salvation.” Paul addresses that whisper in this verse.
Paul went from murdering followers of Jesus Christ for their faith to following Jesus himself. A compelling testimony today, it must have been even more so at that time. It is incredible to think that Paul would be writing letters of instruction to churches that in the recent past he would have persecuted. What Paul recognized through his personal story of salvation was that it carries a very important message. Jesus used him as an example for all those people who think they cannot possibly approach the Son for forgiveness because their deeds are too evil and too many. And while we may be able to see the testimony of Paul as a great example of Jesus’s perfect patience, we might not see the same example in our own stories.
What Paul teaches us here is that each of us who calls on the Son as our savior is an example of his great benevolence. We are examples of his mercy, his goodness, his grace, his love. Each of us has a story that someone may need to hear in order to grasp the reality of this idea of salvation. Each of us is a priceless example of what God has done for the creation He adores. Each of our lives is a story that God has penned for a specific purpose. Someone needs to hear your story, so be prepared to tell it [1 Peter 3:15]. Father, we praise You for using us as the examples of your great love and kindness, and we ask You to give us the courage to proudly proclaim the testimonies that You have given us.