Mythbuster Series: "I am too Great A Sinner to be Saved"
by Dennis Michelson
I Timothy 1:15-16
Introduction: Paul presses home his supreme brand of logic in this text when he introduces this "faithful saying." His reasoning is inescapable - the main purpose of Christ coming into the world was to save sinners. Paul asserts that he was the worst of the bunch and concludes that if Christ would save him then he could save anyone else.
If Christ is willing and able to save the greatest sinner then it stands to reason that he can save a lesser sinner. Paul even states in verse 16 that his salvation was set forth as a pattern for those who would follow him. A key concept in this passage is the "patience" or "longsuffering" of Jesus Christ.
His patience allows His justice to be held in abeyance while mercy operates and men desperately need to understand this. Look at the patience of Christ in three aspects and then see if the myth that "I am too great a sinner to be saved" continues to stand.
1. His Patience Before Pilate
The Lord was arrested, arraigned, and interrogated as a criminal when He had done nothing wrong. They accused Him of blasphemy even to the point of counting Him worthy of death. The creatures mocked the Creator by hitting Him, blindfolding Him, and spitting upon Him.
His own disciples forsook Him and fled. His chief Apostle denied Him. They eventually scourged Him, placed a robe and crown of thorns on Him, and led Him away to be crucified between two thieves. What was the response of the Son of God - "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."
Read closely Acts 2:23 and 3:14; 4:4 and it will become apparent that the longsuffering and patient Savior saved almost 8,000 of the very people who had either witnessed or participated in His ignominious death.
How amazing to consider the grace and mercy of God in saving the very Centurion who orchestrated the act of crucifixion. We conclude, as did the Centurion, that "truly this was the Son of God."
2. His Patience with Paul
There was no better Old Testament scholar than Saul of Tarsus. He even studied at the feet of Gamaliel and had every advantage a religious education could offer. This man had walked on the very streets Jesus had walked and knew of the miracles surrounding the Savior's ministry and crucifixion.
Paul participated in the murder of Stephen and was a missionary of persecution to the Church. The driving force behind this man's life was to wipe the memory of Jesus completely from the face of the earth. What was the patient response of the Son of God - "Saul, Saul, why persecutest me?"
Paul was saved to convince the world of the patience and saving power of Christ.
3. His Patience with People
He gives a daily witness to everyone who will stop long enough to observe it. At a set time He applies His holy law to the heart so that all of the excuses cease and a person's mouth is stopped and he stands guilty before God. Only God can change the congenital heart of stone to a heart of flesh. When this miracle happens He puts a new song in their mouth and ever lives to make intercession for them.
The myth is busted! No one is too great a sinner to be saved. In fact, one cannot be saved until he realizes what a great sinner he is!