And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.
It’s not our merit, but God’s love that brings grace to this world. There is nothing in us whatsoever that merits God to save us. It’s the love of God and His grace which sent Jesus to die for us. Jesus, the incarnate God of Heaven is the representation of God’s love, wisdom and long suffering for us. In addition, we should not overlook the other part of Paul’s statement about being the chief of sinners, why? Because his statement shows us the true heart of one of God’s children. A heart broken over sin, a heart touched by the Holy Spirit who brings humility and understanding of God’s grace. Paul was trained in the best schools, by the best teacher. In our day and age Paul would be the elite of the elite. He was the best of the best as we would say today.
Paul would not only have a reason to be proud, his training made him better than our best Bible scholars. Yet Paul recognized the true heart of man, which is envy, pride, rebellion against God and strife! Paul compared our fallen nature with what Jesus did for us and who Jesus is. And by this comparison Paul was able to see mankind for what we truly are, God’s fallen creation. In our current state all of humanity is fallen from grace with no way to save ourselves. We, in our fallen humanity have no hope and no possibility of reconciliation with a holy God. Without Jesus, all of humanity regardless of our beliefs or religions are doomed to Hell for all eternity. And that’s why Jesus came to save us. Jesus the eternal God of heaven, stepped out of eternity and took on humanity that we may obtain mercy and eternal life through Him. Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom we all could rightly call ourselves the, “chief of sinners.”