1 Timothy 1:15 “This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”–and I am the worst of them all.”
The other day, I was standing in my bathroom listening to music while brushing my teeth. I don’t remember what song I was listening to, but one of the lines said something about being “the worst of sinners.”
I’ll be honest. I had the self-righteous thought that I think many Christians have but don’t realize they are having. I thought “Well, I’m not the worst…” Then, I thought about it. Is the such a thing as the best of sinners?
No. It’s like that competitive saying, “second place is just the first loser.” Sin is an either-or condition. Either you are a sinner or you are perfect in all things. There is not BEST. We are, all of us, the worst of sinners.
This is because “sin” isn’t simply about what we do, or what we have or haven’t done so much as it is about what reality we belong to: the true reality or the false one. The true reality serves God as the source of all things. The false one denies His right to rule His creation. This was the sin of Lucifer and the sin of Adam. All other sin stems from this one false reality,
It is for this reason that we all, along with the Apostle Paul, qualify as “the worst of sinners.” We transgress the parameters of ultimate reality. Christians and unbelievers alike are guilty of this. On our best days, we fail to see God as supreme in some respect of our lives, and thus we sin. We take matters into our own hands, we worry, we manipulate, we self-indulge…all because on some level we are still not consciously submitted to God’s ultimate rule.
Only Jesus can atone for this transgression for us and correct our vision so that we can choose to submit to God and glorify Him. Only the Holy Spirit can continue the work of salvation in us and show us what we cannot see on our own.
Sin is so much more than a behavior problem. That’s why salvation is so much more than behavior modification, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” This should make believers humble, because the only difference between us and the worst sinner we can imagine is the grace of Jesus. It is only in Him that any of us can be made righteous.