(Article for publication week of 4-24-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).The glorious gospel that we preach is worthy of all acceptation. It is the saving message of the Saviour of the chief of sinners.
However, very few are interested in the gospel, because they do not see themselves as sinners in need of a Saviour. This is the great need of the hour, for the Holy Spirit to convict men of their sins that they may be stripped of all their fancied self righteousness and flee to Christ for salvation. The Church and her preachers need to quit trying to get men saved, and start trying to get men lost. The average man today when told of the Saviour of sinners, is just not interested because he thinks all is well. “What? me the chief of sinners? Why I’ll have you to know I’m as good as the next fellow!” This appears to be the attitude of most today, and so they will not seek a Savior they don’t think they need. But if you can ever find a man that is utterly lost, well you can preach the gospel to that man.
The man who was inspired by the Holy Ghost to write our text this week confessed that he was the “chief of sinners.” As far as the Apostle Paul was concerned, there was not a worse sinner on earth than himself. He had never gotten drunk, or run off with another man’s wife or daughter, or robbed a bank, or broken the Sabbath, or taken the name of the Lord in vain, or bowed down to an idol of wood or stone; in fact, he said once that touching the law, he was “blameless” (Philippians 3:6). Yet, he confessed he was the “chief of sinners.” In another place (Romans 7:24) he said he was a “wretch.” Here was a man who was morally pure in his outward conduct, but he called himself the “chief of sinners” and a “wretch.” The Apostle Paul had poor self esteem! Why would the man make such statements about himself?
Well, the answer is in the convicting and converting power of the Holy Spirit. The apostle says in Romans 7:9 that he was “alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.” What happened to the Apostle is the same thing that happens to every poor sinner that is quickened into spiritual life by the Holy Ghost. The Blessed Spirit teaches a sinner that he has broken the law of God and stands guilty before God, and is condemned and sentenced to death. The heaven born soul feels that there has never been a worse sinner than himself, and he begins to cry out, “Lord, have mercy upon me a poor sinner”! Now this is a painful thing for a poor sinner to have to go through, but it is the way that God leads all his little children. God always gets a man thoroughly lost before He saves him. God wounds before He heals, and He kills before He makes alive.Dear Reader, do you feel yourself to be the “chief of sinners”? Well, if you do, I have a gospel worthy of your reception; Christ Jesus came into the world to save the chief of sinners! As dear old Joseph Hart wrote, “all the fitness He requireth is to feel your need of Him.” There is only one qualification for salvation- you must be a sinner! May the Holy Spirit convict some of their sins and draw you to the mercy seat.