Paul, who was a Jewish Pharisee and persecutor of the church, says here that he acted in
ignorance and unbelief. He is saying that when he was in his religiosity and in his religiosity he was ignorant of the fact of his sinfulness. As the worst of sinners Christ displayed patience to him and saved him.
One thing about maturing in Christ, the longer we are with him, the more we realize that we are not righteous like him. Paul here realizes his sinfulness even though he is THE “Apostle Paul”. The scriptures say that our hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked and that we cannot even know the depths of our sin. Paul says here that we act in ignorance in our unbelief. Yet God saves us anyway by showing us his mercy. And even as we grow in Christ, in His mercy He shows us how sinful we still act so that we can continually confess and restore fellowship because none of us have arrived to perfection yet in this life. Ironic that it is usually the religious feel like they are doing OK. Every day we need to fall on his mercy for the sins that we don’t know we are committing (1Jn 1:9b).
The Lord’s Grace to Paul
12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. 13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. 14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. 18 Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, 19 holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith. 20 Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.
Who are you Lord?
I AM Christ Jesus who has come with patience, grace, faith, love, mercy and eternal life in my hand in order to save sinners – those who don’t even know that they need me, those who act in ignorance and unbelief, those who blaspheme against me and do harm to others even in God’s name. If I can save Paul in his rampage against me, I can save anyone that I choose to who would yield to my calling.
What about you? Do you realize your lostness yet? Paul did not know that he was lost until he came face to face with my glory. Have you discovered my glory? I AM the Invisible yet ever present, eternal, Immortal King of the universe. I AM The God of Heaven and Earth. I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life. And in spite of what the world says, there is no other name given among men whereby you can be saved. I came in order to save you once you come to realize that you need saving. I AM patient with you and will not force you, but you must realize that my patience will only last until the day you die, after that the judgment. Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation. What are you waiting for?
It takes faith and humility to admit that you are ignorant of my word and to agree with me that you are lost in sin. It takes faith to come to an invisible God to receive mercy which also flies in the face of your intellect and pride. And it takes faith to choose to own eternal life which I give to you as a gift. You won’t be able to claim ignorance when you stand before My Throne.
The thing about God is that if you don’t realize your sinfulness, he has a way to hand you over to it so that you can see just how sinful you really are. When you are sick of it, then you will come to his throne of grace for mercy.
More to come,