1 Timothy 1:12-20

The Lord’s Grace to Paul

12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. 13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. 14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
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. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
18 Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight, 19 holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith. 20 Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.

I have often wondered how the church of today would have reacted had Paul been alive in our time. Paul, by his own admission, was “the worst of sinners” persecuting the church and Christians, before encountering the grace and merc of Jesus Christ.

What people often don’t realize about Paul, is that we wasn’t “anti-God” while persecuting Christians. Paul was actually a strict Pharisee and fervent observer of Levitical law. It was his misplaced zeal, not hatred, that caused him to persecute Christians. It was the grace and mercy that was evident in the teaching of Jesus that caused him to believe that Jesus was not God. That same grace and mercy brought him to repentance and channelled his passion from persecution to fighting the fight of faith.

Paul must have believed he was doing the right thing by persecuting Christians. Yet, he was wrong. Likewise, we often do wrong toward the church of Jesus Christ while thinking we’re doing right. This presents itself in many ways: asking the drunkard to leave the church service in fear that he will make others uncomfortable; gossipping (we call it ‘sharing’ or start it with phrases like “we should pray about…”) about other pastors or churches we perceive to be wrong (even though we don’t really have a biblical basis for saying so); looking down on people like Paul who have huge potential for the kingdom, because they are misguided.


Paul shares his story with Timothy so that we can understand how great the grace and mercy of Christ is – and that it applies in all situations, even at times for those who are against God. We need to stand up for what we believe is right, yes, but we also need to be informed about truth before rushing into a battle unarmed. Is there something you are fighting at the moment that is actually benefiting the Kingdom, but you can’t see it because you are too busy rushing in with arms blazing? Are you seeing things as “negative” just because they’re “different”? Stop it! Pray that you would encounter the truth of God that will set you free in this area.


Jesus thank you that Your ways are so much greater than mine. Please help me to understand that sometimes things I don’t understand, or fear, are actually good for the Kingdom of God. Help me to know when to fight, and when to accept that ‘different’ is not always wrong. Please give me discernment in this area. For your glory, amen.

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