The Highest Honor

1 Tim. 1  15 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. 16 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. 17 To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

For many years now, I have underscored my signature with these verses. I have always been struck by Paul’s humility in referring to himself as the Chief Of Sinners twice in consecutive verses.

That’s my confession too. I’m not rejoicing in it in any way. The log in my eye makes me the Chief of Sinners.

We humans like to honor people and dishonor them. We’re good at assigning villains and assigning heros. Paul was not one to accept “hero status.” (In truth, he wasn’t a villain either due to the grace of God). But in his own eyes he was chief of sinners.

Can you imagine how different the world would be today if people looked at themselves as chiefs of sinners rather than the other person?

One cannot praise, glorify, magnify Christ without that humble recognition of one’s own sin. Paul teaches us that it’s only in the chiefs of sinners that Jesus Christ displays his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in Him for eternal life. This is the setup to the Doxology in v.17. Only to the King of Ages be honor and glory forever and ever. AMEN.

I have been honored recently by our District, and humbled by it at the same time. But the highest honor is to be Christ’s child. The real honor is to serve in God’s vineyard. The real honor is to be a husband to my wife, a father to my children, and the pastor of St. John’s in North Prairie, WI.

Because the first thing you should know about me is that I am the Chief Of Sinners. God be praised for His love and grace toward me.

Sincerely in Christ,

Pastor T.

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