(Article for publication week of 4-17- AD 2014)
"This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief" (I Timothy 1:15).
We have for several weeks been writing on the subject of saving faith. We have been illustrating saving faith by its principle acts, the first of which under our consideration is receiving Christ (John 1:12). When a poor sinner receives Christ for salvation he receives Christ for all that He is. You must receive Christ as Lord and Saviour. You must receive Him as prophet, priest and King. You cannot have Christ on the installment plan. Saving faith is all of you receiving all of Christ. Having shown some of what it means to receive Christ as Lord, we now shall consider the reception of Christ as Saviour.
Some would wonder that we should not have taken this up first. It is popularly taught and believed that a sinner may accept Christ as Saviour, and at some later time receive Him as Lord. But this is completely unscriptural . Notice for example how Peter preached in Acts 5:31, "Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins." Notice also how Paul and Silas answered the Philippian jailer in Acts 16:30-31. When he asked "what must I do to be saved?", they replied, "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." Poor sinners need a Lord to save them. We need One Who is mighty to save. The Saviour that we preach is not some helpless wimp, He is the mighty God! (Isaiah 9:6).
Now, my first question for you dear reader is, "do you feel your need of a Saviour?" Have you been convicted by the power of the Holy Ghost to understand that you are a vile sinner in need of a Saviour? Have you been brought to the place that you feel to be the chief of sinners? Now, I know what some of you are thinking. You are thinking, "well I know I am a sinner; after all I am only human; I have made some mistakes; yes I am a sinner, but I am not as bad as some people; I am actually better than most of you church people." Dear reader that is not the kind of sinner that Christ came into the world to save. Christ came into the world to save the "chief of sinners." Many of you will not accept the gospel of salvation because you really don't see your need of a Saviour.
But I have good news for those of you who know yourselves to be loathsome in the sight of God. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners! Christ came into the world to be the perfect righteousness of all who will receive Him by faith. He lived a perfect life in obedience to the law of God. He died as a substitute to satisfy the justice of God. He was raised from the dead for the justification of those who believe in Him. He is seated at the right hand of God interceding for all who receive Him by faith. Though your sins are black as hell, they shall be as white as snow the very moment you receive Christ as your Saviour. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners of whom I am chief. And that is a gospel worthy for you to receive.