1 Timothy 1:15.
This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.
Here we have Paul, the Apostle to the nations, concisely reminding us of solid and vital truths by which we can confidently trust, fully accept and confidently pass it on to others.
“Christ Jesus came into the world.” He Who was one with the Father in eternity, became the Anointed Saviour, Whom the one eternal God sent into the world and chose to use, by His representative life, death and resurrection, to restore divine relationship with sinful humankind. Throughout the gospel according to John, Jesus personally claims to have come from God. Among all humanity, Jesus alone enjoys unique relationship in both identity and in purpose with God (read John for confirmation and be impressed by Jesus’ sayings regarding Himself in relation to the Father). Paul refers to Jesus’ dual identity as the God-Man in passages such as Romans 1:1-4, 2 Cor. 5:16-19, 8:9; Gal.3:16-20; Phil.2:5-11, Colossians 1:12-20 and 1 Timothy 3:16.
Jesus’ primary mission in coming to earth was “to save sinners.” This was the specific purpose for His coming (Matthew 1:21). Teaching and setting an example for living were secondary in nature and He invites us to learn from Him and to follow Him personally. Jesus means Saviour. That was His mission on earth. We humans needed saving for we were sinners (Rom.5:8). Because of our sin, we were enemies to God (Rom. 5:10). We were helpless to save ourselves (Rom. 5:6). So, God intervened by stepping in and doing for us what we needed done, but could not do for ourselves. Through Jesus’ atoning death and sinless, eternal life, God removed the hostility that separated us from Himself and rescued us from every dark and destructive power that kept us from God’s goal for our lives now and forever (Rom. 5:10). God punished Himself, in Jesus, for our sins! (See Isaiah 53.) He poured out His wrath on His only begotten Son, Jesus the man, and was satisfied.
Jesus was delivered up to die because of our trespasses and raised up from the dead because of our justification. We have been justified because of our faith in God’s redeeming work done in Christ Jesus. We have peace with God because of Jesus’ obedient life and death. Jesus’ obedience on our behalf, satisfied God’s righteous requirement. Through Jesus, we have access to God’s grace (justification, peace). We stand before God because of God’s grace revealed in Christ Jesus! We have been justified by Jesus’ blood. We are saved from God’s wrath by Jesus (see Rom.4:25-5:9).
By one act of righteousness, Jesus justified us before God and imparted eternal life to us (Rom.5:18). Even as Adam’s disobedience led to many being made sinners, Jesus’ obedience makes many righteous. These are the ones who trust in Jesus’ finished work on their behalf, repent of their sins, confess Jesus as the Son of God and their Lord and publicly display their faith in Jesus by obeying His command in immersion in water (being baptized). Our salvation hinges on Jesus’ righteous act on our behalf! When hanging and suffering on the cross, people mocked Him saying, “He saved others; He cannot save Himself” (Matt.27:42). Though He could have, he refused to come down (save Himself) from the cross. Jesus remained on the cross because He didn’t come to save Himself, but sinners. Jesus Himself said, “For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10) and “I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world” (John 12:47).
How have you received this news? Do you, like Paul, acknowledge yourself to be a sinner, one for whom Jesus died? Then act on it! To God be the glory!