“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.”1 Timothy 1:15
It’s never good to revel in our sin. That’s not what Paul is doing. But recognizing that we are sinners allows us to rejoice in the gospel. That Paul himself admitted he was a sinner is great encouragement to us. When we’re overwhelmed by sin, try as we might to resist temptation, there is still hope. Paul gives us reason for hope when we fail. He says, “You think you’re a sinner? I’m the worst! But Jesus came to save even the worst of us.”
Try as he might, Martin Luther failed to obey God over and over again. That frustrated him at first, because he had been told that God requires us to live perfectly righteous lives to receive redemption. But we can’t do it ourselves. Our best is never enough. Thankfully, Jesus is the best. Paul went on: “But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on Him and receive eternal life” (v. 16). Admit you’re “the worst,” and rejoice in Jesus’ best for you.
“If we cannot deny that we are sinners, we cannot deny that Christ died for our sins.” (Martin Luther, 1535)