A Gospel Saying
The basic message uniting Christians.
“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” (1 Timothy 1:15).
We all grew up with sayings. They might have been in the form of proverbs or folksy phrases, but we heard them as reminders and pithy lessons. Maybe a saying you think of is “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” Or, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Or perhaps, “Money can’t buy happiness.”
Each of the above is something you could hear at home, work, or in the grocery store. You don’t have to know the full context in which the saying is used to get a general understanding of its meaning. When you hear “a penny saved is a penny earned” you know the speaker is referring to being frugal. This is because sayings are held in common by a group of people with the same language, values, and story. Because they are idiomatic, they’re difficult to translate into other languages.
But the saying in our devotional, “that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” is true for all people, everywhere. It is translatable across time and space because it is rooted in the reality of the eternal God, and it speaks to the condition from which all people need rescue. It is good news that we all need to hear.
As the early Church was growing and expanding they were constantly encountering people ignorant of who Jesus was, and so those Christians would tell them. When asked, “What did this Jesus of Nazareth do?” they could respond quite simply and succinctly: “Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”
The same is true for us today. It is a saying that is shared by all Christians, at all times, to all corners of the world. If you have not accepted Jesus’ forgiveness for your sins, this is amazingly good news for you. Sin, that thing which causes all evils and destruction in the world, is no match for Jesus. There is no sin you can have committed that is beyond the reach of Jesus’ outstretched arms (just read verses 12-14).
If you are a Christian, this verse reminds you of the unfathomable mercy you have received. Do not think yourself above saying along with Paul “I am the foremost sinner.” Jesus’ forgiveness is for you. May this be a saying we repeat often and among others.
Will Stockdale is a Ministry Associate and cohost of The Will & Rob Show.