Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sunday Devotions: The Biggest Sinner in the World

Who is the biggest sinner in the world? The honest answer may shock us.

Podcast version here

1 Timothy 1:15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners-of whom I am the worst.

Here’s a question that we never seem to ask ourselves: who is the worst sinner in the world? We could probably make a list of movie stars, dictators, politicians, and religious leaders and compare our answers, but the true answer would be totally missing: me.

We are only truly aware of the sins that we commit, the mistakes we have made, and the regrets we carry in our hearts. No one else knows the full sum of sins that we commit except ourselves; therefore when we ask who the biggest sinner is in the world, the honest answer is “me.”

Paul understood this simple truth, which is why he writes that he is the worst sinner in the world. He can see before him the past mistakes he made as a Pharisee; he can recognize his pride, anger, and self-righteousness that led him to persecute Christians; he carries the burden of his guilty past within his heart. He knows that he is the biggest sinner in the world and no matter how saintly we revere Paul, he would never take that merit upon himself.

Once we understand that we are each the biggest sinners in our own worlds, we need the biggest Savior in the Universe to forgive and restore us. We cannot do it on our own because we have no clout with God. We each need someone to stand before God to intercede on our behalf. God will not listen or excuse us. We cannot negotiate with God. Only Jesus can stand in the gap and declare us to be His sanctified and forgiven followers. It’s His merits that extinguish our demerits. It’s His obedience that cancels out our rebellion. It’s His sacred holiness that erases our sinful hopelessness.

We go from being the biggest sinners in the Universe to becoming the greatest heirs of God. We are given grace and mercy instead of punishment and wrath. We are granted everlasting life instead of eternal misery.

This is why the Church is commissioned to go out into the world. This is why every Christian is a missionary. Like Paul, we rejoice in our salvation and want to help others receive that joyful experience. We live in the love of Christ and the grace of God. We seek to share these bountiful blessings with the whole world.

So, if you ever hear the question: “who is the biggest sinner in the world?”, then answer “me.” And follow it up by letting people know who the Greatest Savior is in the universe. One day, they’ll want to experience the same.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, none of us are perfect, holy, or sinless. We all make mistakes and commit sins. We all are ashamed of things in the past and fearful of doing things wrong in the future. Grant us Your mercy and grace when we fail and fall. Help us to come to You constantly with our confessions, regrets, and disappointments. Cleanse us of the past and lead us towards our eternal future. In Your Holy Name, we humbly pray. Amen.

Stushie is the writer of the 4 Minute Presbyterian Devotional and Christians podcast site "Heaven's Highway."