While the phrase “Fake News” is mentioned on an almost daily basis now, it is not an idea discovered by Donald Trump. In writing his pastoral letters, the apostle Paul is constantly addressing congregations that are being bewitched by false teaching, ‘altered truth’ and bare-faced lies! In fact, fake news actually goes back to the Garden of Eden!
Preparing for our Friday morning Bible study, I discovered that in his letters Paul makes 5 statements which is declares “trustworthy statements”. Is all the Bible not trustworthy? Of course it is, but he wants the recipients of these letters (us included) to prick up our ears for these 5 statements in particular, as one’s “worthy of full acceptance”.
Because space is brief here, I just want to mention the trustworthy statement from 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.
Simple, but crucial truth. The world needs saving, so Christ came. Why did Christ come? Because of sin. If you have not received Jesus as Lord and Saviour, you are not saved. The pearly gates will remain eternally closed to you if you have not received Him. Please, please, contact myself or Carlton if you have not yet done so and we will share the simple Gospel with you.
Another important truth from this trustworthy saying is that Paul says, of all sinners I am the worst! What’s that about? Has Paul conducted a survey of sinners and found himself to have the lowest score? We might expect Paul to say he was the worst of sinners, when he was “once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man”, but is?
I believe what’s happening here is essential truth. As we grow in discipleship we become less judgemental of other people, because the closer we get to God the more we realise how short of His perfect beauty we fall. We stop comparing ourselves to others, and start asking God to work in us, to make us more like Him.
The writer of the popular paraphrase of the Bible, The Message went to be with the Lord a couple of weeks ago, a pastor called Eugene Peterson. I love what he says (this is another trustworthy saying!) – Every congregation is a congregation of sinners. As if that weren’t bad enough, they all have sinners for pastors.
Remember that if you are in Christ you are just a beggar who has found bread, and your job is to tell other beggars where they can get it too! Keep in mind, that next to the holy God in Heaven, you are the worst of sinners, but thanks to His Son’s wonderful cross, you are a glorious saint!
May you be always humble, always loving and always forgiving, and being recipients of such rich grace, never quick to judge or to criticise your brothers and sisters.
Love in Him,
Saint Simon the Sinner