I'm reading in 1 Timothy these days. I know I've said before how wonderful it is to read the Bible from cover to cover because you truly get a feel for how it all fits together. I'm especially enjoying the New Testament letters that Paul wrote. I have "heard" Paul's heart in a way I never had before.
1 Timothy 1:12-16 really spoke to me the other day. Paul is writing to his beloved "son" Timothy and once again reveals what a nasty, mean "sinner" he was before Jesus saved him. These words in verses 15 and 16 really touched me as I read them:
"Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--of whom I am the worst. 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."
Those are amazing words!! They speak amazing truths!!
Paul describes himself as the "worst" sinner ever, but the reality is he's not. Every single one of us is! I am. You are. Every one of us has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We've fallen short of the perfection He placed inside of us when he created us. And the only way to fix that is to realize we can't but Jesus can!
The phrase "unlimited patience" grabbed me as I read this passage. To be honest, it brought tears to my eyes as I thought of God's unlimited patience with me. With the world. Daily I wonder how He can tolerate the sin of this world for one more second! But then I remember that while He hates the sin, He loves the sinner so much He's willing to be patient through their disobedience, desiring with all His heart they will come to the point in their lives where they need Him more than they need their sin.
I'm thankful I came to that point back in 1992. I'm thankful God had unlimited patience with me in all those years before.
That is something to truly be thankful for!