God’s Mercy (1 Timothy 1:12-17)
Mercy is receiving a pardon we do not deserve.
Although we deserve to be lost, God, out of his mercy, has saved us. Psalm 86:5. Ephesians 2:4.
This morning, we want to examine God’s mercy.
Reception of Mercy, vv 12-14
Paul thanked the Lord, for he had enabled Paul. The idea of enable is “make someone strong.” The Lord gave Paul the strength he needed to carry out his ministry.
Paul thanked the Lord, for he counted Paul faithful. “Faithful” means trustworthy. Even though Paul had persecuted the church, the Lord knew him to be trustworthy. Whatever Paul did, he did to the best of his ability. Before his conversion, Paul persecuted the church out of his great zeal; he was blameless concerning the righteousness in the law (Phil 3:6). The Lord showed Paul that he considered him trustworthy by putting him in the ministry-The Lord did not just forgive Paul; he made Paul an apostle.
Paul had lived a life of sin.
- He was a blasphemer.
- He was a persecutor. Before his conversion, Paul actively persecuted the church. Acts 8:3; 9:1, 13-14.
- He was an insolent man. This means that Paul persecuted Christians for the pleasure he received from torturing them.
Paul obtained mercy because he acted ignorantly in unbelief. He really believed he was doing right-Paul lived in all good conscience (Acts 23:1).
We, too, can act in ignorance. The one who acts in ignorance shall receive a lighter sentence than one who acts willfully (Lk 12:48). The Jews ignorantly crucified Jesus (Acts 3:17).
We need to pay careful attention to Scripture so we do not act ignorantly; God no longer overlooks ignorance (Acts 17:30).
Paul had acted in unbelief-He really did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah.
The grace of Jesus was exceedingly abundant toward Paul. God has abundant grace. Ephesians 1:7; Romans 5:20. God had enough grace to save Paul.
Grace abounded with faith and love in Christ Jesus; Paul received mercy because of the faith and love in Christ. “Faith” contrasts with “unbelief”-Although Paul had once been an unbeliever, he was now a believer. “Love” contrasts with “blasphemy”-Paul had once blasphemed the Lord, but now he loved him.
Although Paul had lived a life of serious sin, God showed him mercy. God will show us mercy, too (Heb 8:12). Do you know God’s mercy?
Reason of Mercy, vv 15-16
Christ came to save sinners. This is a faithful saying; this was more than likely a common saying in the early church.
The faithful saying is that Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Mary and Joseph were to call their Son “Jesus,” because he would save his people from their sin (Matt 1:21)-The name “Jesus” means “Yahweh saves.” Luke 19:10. Since Jesus came into the world to save sinners, he can save you from your sins.
Paul referred to himself as the “chief” of sinners. “Chief” refers to being the foremost, most prominent. Paul says that he feels like the worst of sinners; sometimes we, too, feel like the worst of sinners.
Paul obtained mercy so that Christ might show all longsuffering. “Longsuffering” refers to patience; Christ showed Paul patience. Christ extends his patience to us, too. For many years, God was patient with the Israelites (Neh 9:3). 2 Peter 3:9.
This longsuffering serves as an example to us. The message Paul gives here is that if God could save him, God can save anyone. Indeed, God has a history of saving individuals mired in sin. Peter offered forgiveness to those who had crucified Jesus (Acts 2:36-37). Paul listed many sins the Corinthians had committed prior to conversion (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
Regardless of what you’ve done in your life, God can save you.
Paul praised God for showing mercy.
We, too, need to praise God for his mercy. We need to praise him in worship. We need to praise him in daily living.
Are you praising God?