by Dcn. John LaMar
“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. And I am the worst of sinners;” I Timothy 1:15
Don’t you just stand in awe when you hear Christians tell their stories of conversion, particularly when they share a testimony of how Christ rescued them from a life of crime, depravity, drug addiction; a life on the brink of suicide or from the very pit of hopelessness itself. Sometimes we can feel so inadequate in our deliverance story that one might be tempted to wonder if we were really “lost” when compared to such accounts as these aforementioned. But the apostle Paul assures us that we are like all men who have come before us and those who will come after us in that, “As it is written, ‘There is none righteous, no, not one’” and “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:10 and 23a)
The words of the apostle are true when saying that we should “not think too highly of ourselves” but rather see ourselves through the eyes of God himself if we would have the correct measure of ourselves. With this in mind we should stand “shoulder to shoulder” with Paul, beating our breast and declaring that we too are the worst of sinners. And it is that truth, my brothers and sisters, which makes the grace of God so truly wonderful – to know for a certainty that I, even I, can be saved.
With this great truth in mind, every Christian should discover themselves under the call of God to take the wonderful news of salvation through Christ Jesus by word and deed to the world. Paul’s charge to young Timothy is indeed given to us as well, lest our silence be counted against us as we see both men and women, some whom we have known, being condemned to a Christ-less eternity because we spoke not a word. As Paul said, “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom; preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching.” (II Tim. 4:1-2) Paul warned Timothy, and we see it ever so much in our own day that “the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings.” (4:3). Now more than ever we live in a world that desires not the truth but rather to hear only what affirms or pleases them.
And so, during these forty days of Lent, let us agree to stir up our hearts that we may begin to speak to at least one person a day, or at least a week, about the great love of Jesus Christ and his offer of salvation. And let us remember the sure truth of Ash Wednesday, that ashes without Jesus are just ashes.
Dcn. John ministers at Trinity Anglican Church