By Ron Rosso
The Apostle Paul said, “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 ” (1 Tim 1:15).
Notice Paul used the present tense (“I am”), as opposed to the past tense. Thus, his being “chief among sinners” was his current reality.
Paul was appointed by God—even before birth—to be an apostle (cf. Gal 1:15). By the time he wrote these words to Timothy, he had been an apostle for decades, with an extraordinary ministry. Yet, he was still chief among sinners! That was Paul’s sober judgment.
And was anyone more aware than Paul of the extraordinary and rampant evil present in the world?
When Paul said he was the chief of sinners, he was not divorced from reality, but being the quintessential realist.
After all, it was Paul who also said, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for I have the will within me, but how to perform what is good I do not find” (Rom 7:18).
Later in Romans, Paul made clear that this is the universal plight of all Christians.
The point is this: we all possess the same fallen nature. It is no less fallen and depraved in one person than it is in any other. Of course, God has granted us the resources to gain victories over it, but it never changes or leaves us on this side of the grave.
Those who spend the most time, in the brightest light, are often most aware of their blemishes. For example, I hate going to my dentist because he has the ultimate lighting system. It shows every flaw possible. I much prefer the dimly lit mirrors at home!
As believers, we are to make a lifestyle of hanging out in the ultimate light—the Word of God. In so doing, we, too, will become spiritual realists.
I have discovered that the folks who are most in touch with truth, are the most aware of their own sin. They are quick to admit when they’re wrong, and slow to focus on the sins of others.
I have found that, like Paul, believers who admit they are the chief of sinners turn out to be the most fruitful!
Ron Rosso is a businessman and Bible Study teacher. He lives in Atlantic County, NJ.