“It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost sinner, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” – 1 Timothy 1:15-17
When we speak of Christmas in Biblical terms, we’re often flipping to the New Testament books of Matthew, Luke, and John. But today, we’re going to look at it from Paul’s perspective. Now, Paul wasn’t around when Jesus was born, nor was he involved in the earthly ministry of Jesus. And, he most certainly didn’t see Jesus on the cross or at the empty tomb. So, his perspective is a little different from that of the gospels.
First, I want you to think about the worst sinner you can possibly imagine. Who comes to mind? As you give that some thought if anyone other than yourself comes to mind – then your heart is probably not quite in tune with God. Why? Because the further a person is from God, the more we tend to feel pretty good about ourselves. As we compare our life to others, it’s easier for self-righteousness to take root. On the other hand, the closer a person is to Christ, the more we’re aware of our sinfulness. It’s in comparing our life to Christ that we realize just how great He is! We realize that we can never measure up.
Well, okay – but what does all this have to do with Christmas and Paul? Paul is about to tell us. “It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance,” Paul begins. This means we better be paying attention to what comes next because Paul wants us to realize that the reason Jesus was born in Bethlehem was to save us from our sins. Now, we can all think of a multitude of things Jesus’ coming reveals to us. It showed us God’s character and love, God’s compassion and mercy for the poor, His love for the sick, for the hurting, and for those in need of ministry. And Jesus’ coming revealed how God wants us to live. Yet, the main reason that Jesus was born was to save you and me from our sins. Jesus was born to die – to die for our sins.
So, as we begin to study the birth of Jesus from Paul’s point of view, what is the first thing to remember? Remember that Jesus was born in Bethlehem to be our Savior. If you think someone else’s sins are worse than yours, think again. Each of us is the worst sinner we’ve ever known. Yet, in spite of it all, God loves us so much that He sent us His Son to save us from ourselves. That, my friends, is Good News!