“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
Normally, when we speak of Christmas in Biblical terms, we’re taking our information from the New Testament books of Matthew, Luke and John. Today, we’re going to start looking at it from Paul’s perspective. But Paul wasn’t around when Jesus was born –– nor was he involved in during Jesus’ earthly ministry. And he most certainly didn’t see Jesus on the cross or witness the empty tomb. As you might imagine, Paul’s perspective is a little different.
So, why are we looking at Christmas through Paul’s eyes? Before we answer that question, take a moment to think of the worst sinner you know. It might be a family member, a neighbor, maybe a co-worker or a classmate; perhaps it’s an acquaintance or a public figure you don’t even know personally. What about your name? Did YOU top the list? Probably not. It’s always much easier to recognize sin in the lives of others, then admit our own.
But let me be brutally honest: If any name other than yours topped the list, then your heart might not be in tune with God. Why? Because the farther a person is from God, the more we tend to feel pretty good about ourselves – the more we tend to feel pretty self-righteous as we compare our life to the lives of others. In contrast, the closer a person is to Christ, the more we’re aware of our sinfulness. The more we realize that we will never measure up to Christ’s sinless standard as we compare our lives to His. It’s incredibly humbling to realize just how badly we NEED a Savior.
So, back to the Apostle Paul. How does all this come back to Paul and the Christmas story? In 1 Timothy 1: 15- 17, Paul wants us to realize that the reason Jesus was born in Bethlehem was to save us from our sins.
We can all think of a multitude of things that Jesus’ coming reveals to us: God’s character and personality, God’s desire that we live a Godly life, and God’s unequaled love, compassion, and mercy for all those hurting and in need. And yet, the REASON that the Jesus was born was to save you and me from our sins. Jesus was born to die – for mankind.
So, as we begin to look at Christmas from Paul’s point of view, remember that Jesus was born in Bethlehem to become our Savior. That baby would grow up and live a sinless life so that He could pay the penalty for all our sins – big, small, and in-between. With Jesus, there is no sin hierarchy. We’re all guilty. Thankfully, God loves us so much that He sent His Son to save us from ourselves. And that is the reason we celebrate this Christmas season!