In every culture we have some common sayings that are often repeated, and it is repeated because they teach something important e.g. “Curiosity killed the cat;” “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again;” “Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today;” “Save for a rainy day.” In Paul’s epistles, he has 5 faithful sayings that he wants Christians to remember. A faithful saying is a saying that is true and trustworthy. For example, Paul would write: “This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly” (Titus 3:8). Because the saying is true and important, Paul desires that it be repeated constantly! In this article, we will examine Paul’s first faithful saying in 1 Timothy 1:15.
1. The Awesome Saviour
In his faithful saying, Paul introduces us to the awesome Saviour, Jesus Christ. Truly, Jesus is our awesome Saviour because He is our God and Creator (John 1:1-3). Despite being Deity, Jesus humbled Himself, and took upon Him the form of man in order to save mankind (Philippians 2:5-11). Furthermore, Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice by sacrificing His own life for our redemption (John 3:16). What an awesome Saviour!
Truly, it is a faithful saying, that Jesus is our awesome Saviour who came to this world to save us. In fact, Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection forms the core of the gospel which we have obeyed (1 Corinthians 15:1-3). Without Jesus, there is no gospel, and no Christianity! Therefore, this is the message that needs to be repeated over and over again, so that we can be reminded of the basis of our faith. Furthermore, this is the message that we need to repeat over and over again, even as we fulfil the Great Commission and bring this good news to the whole world (Matthew 28:19-20).
2. The Absolute Salvation
In his faithful saying, Paul reminds us that Jesus came into the world to save sinners. How great is God’s love toward us, “in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Truly, Christ’s blood is capable of washing away all sin. Paul used himself as an example, for he considered himself the chief of sinners (v.15), especially considering how he was “before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious” (v.13). Paul had persecuted Christians! Yet, because of the exceeding abundant grace of Jesus, even Paul could be forgiven (v.14).
Truly, it is a faithful saying, that Jesus is able to save us absolutely and completely (Hebrews 7:25)! This gives us hope, because Jesus gives us a second chance to make things right. It does not matter what we had done in our past life: what matters most now is that we repent of our past evil deeds and make a change in our life, to serve Jesus (Acts 3:19). This is also a reminder that, as we go out and preach the gospel, we must not refrain from preaching to some persons who may seem to be “great sinners.” After all, Jesus came into the world to save sinners!
3. Appreciative Servant
Having considered the awesome Saviour who gives to us absolute salvation, Paul displays his great appreciation and thankfulness towards Jesus (v.12). Certainly, he did nothing to deserve salvation, but by God’s grace Paul could receive forgiveness. Now, Paul was grateful to be given the opportunity by God to be put into the ministry (v.12). He still viewed himself as unworthy to be called an apostle, but his gratitude for God’s grace spurred him to labour even more abundantly than the other apostles (1 Corinthians 15:9-10). In fact, Paul dedicated his whole life towards serving Jesus Christ (Galatians 2:20).
Truly, it is a faithful saying, that all Christians ought to be grateful to God for our awesome Saviour and absolute salvation. This ought to be a constant reminder, that we who are grateful to God ought to serve Him with all our ability. May this faithful saying be repeated over and over again, “that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” (1 Timothy 1:15).