1 Timothy 1:15 “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.”

     Immediately prior to this statement Paul described himself as having been a blasphemer and a violent man.  This was his past and he readily acknowledged it.   Paul knew what he was and he knew his character;  “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.” (Romans 7:19)  Paul wasn’t bemoaning his past or looking for pity; he was being realistic about himself.

     One commentary points out; “He understood human nature well, not wanting to risk losing the proper perspective that Christ had given him at the beginning. Rather than carry it about as a burdensome load of guilt, he used it as a realistic recognition of his indebtedness to Christ for what he had been forgiven and what had been accomplished since that time.” (Forerunner Commentary)

     How easy it is for me to think that I’m a good person.  Any sins I may commit or have committed aren’t really that bad (at least the ones that I want to remember).  I don’t get drunk or go to bars or throw rocks at my neighbour (although my neighbour’s cat is not safe in my yard).  I am respectable (on the outside).  How easy it is for me to believe that I’m OK.  I’m way better than Paul.  I was a pretty good guy before I was introduced to Jesus and He just made me better!  This kind of thinking is the easy wide road to HELL.  The collector lanes are all well marked; ‘Self Righteous Stay to the Left’.  It’s a well kept road with lots of fast paced traffic.  Hey, did I just pass you?

     In His discussion with a Pharisee, Jesus describes the heart wrenching attitude of someone who truly knows how close they came to eternal wreckage (Luke 7:36-50).  He then sums up the attitude towards God of the self righteous in one neat comparative statement; “Therefore I say unto thee, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.” (Luke 7:47)  If you don’t think you much of a sinner, you’re not looking to be forgiven for much.

     God told His people as they were going in to possess the promised land that all would work out;  ” . . .  if ye shall diligently keep all these commandments which I command you to do them — to love the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, and to cleave unto Him . . .” (Deut 11:22)  These are the exit ramps off the FREEWAY TO HELL.  Love God first – before yourself, your car, your possessions and social status.  Walk in all His Ways – trust Him, stop the judging, show some mercy.  Cleave unto Him – Jesus saved you, show it by being obedient to His Word.

     Remember what Jesus said;  “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”  (John 14:23)  Praise the Lord!