Gospel Honesty

August 13, 2017

Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man…  1 Timothy 1:13 (NIV)

Notice, Paul identifies three of his own sins.

  1. I was once a blasphemer
    “I… was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus… I went from one synagogue to another… and I tried to force them to blaspheme” (Acts 26:9, 11). Paul resisted and spoke against Christ. He tried to get others to do the same. How many years did you resist Christ’s claims and turn a deaf ear to the Word of God?
  2. I was once a persecutor
    This was one of those memories that was painful for Paul. “I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God” (1 Cor. 15:9). Paul harmed the church and injured God’s people. The church is the bride of Christ—a very imperfect, often unfaithful, and sometimes unattractive bride, but still the bride of Christ.  One writer says, “If I say ‘I am your friend,’ but then I say, ‘I hate your wife,’ am I really your friend?” How can you be Christ’s friend if you are filled with resentment toward his bride?
  3. I was once a violent man
    Behind Paul’s resistance to Christ and his resentment toward the church there was a churning anger inside this man. He was in conflict. His conscience was troubling him and it spilled out in ways that wounded other people around him. Paul is not afraid to face his past sins. He is not in denial. He has faced the truth. He makes no excuses. The gospel produces this kind of honesty.

Is the gospel producing this kind of honesty in you?

Colin Smith (@PastorColinS) is senior pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago and a Council member with The Gospel Coalition.

Date Posted: Aug 13th, 2017