Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Our Epistle reading for this week, found in 1 Timothy 1:5-17, speaks to the purpose of God’s Law. It is there for the lawless (v. 9). Who are these lawless people? Paul gives a list of several types of lawbreaking, and the fact is that most of us would say we don’t fit into those categories, at least not normally.
Before we breathe too big a sigh of relief, we should notice Paul’s self-assessment, in verse 15. He considers himself to be among the sinners, and those of the worst kind. We would normally want to disagree. After all, this is Paul, God’s apostle, the man who dedicated his life to spreading the Gospel! He’s one of the good guys!
We have to look not only at our history but also at our internal attitudes to sort this out. We want to make our own laws (v. 9), ignore some of God’s lawful character, we find ourselves curious about and even delighting in that which disrespects God. We become angry with others and wish ill even on our family. We wish to use other people and even the truth itself for our own selfish purposes (v. 10). While we don’t often act on these attitudes we have them, and they condemn us before God. Paul is condemned by God’s law, and it condemns us as well.
What hope do we have? Only this. In verse 15 we read that Jesus came to save sinners. In verse 16, Jesus delights in showing his patience and mercy to those who believe in Him. This is a hope that will not perish or diminish. It burns brighter day by day, casting off the shadows of our sin, skulking in the corner, trying to hide from God’s law.
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