Read: 1 Timothy 1:15-17

But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost [sinner], Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. (v. 16)

The apostle Paul never forgot what he had been like before Jesus called him: in his own words Paul was “a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent” (see v. 13). How marvelous it seemed to him, the “chief” of sinners as the King James Version puts it, that Jesus had forgiven him all that, summoned him to serve, and trusted him to be faithful! He sees also in that a lesson for Timothy and all who will later believe: “But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost [sinner], Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.”

Paul saw himself as Exhibit A of the Lord’s marvelous patience. He seems to say, “If Jesus could bear so long with me, a heartless enemy, and make me his dear servant, he can do that for anyone! So never lose heart, Timothy, and never give up on anyone. The longsuffering of the Lord is wonderfully great!”

Then the thought of all this seems to overwhelm Paul, and a great outpouring of emotion issues forth in the words of the next verse: “To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever.” Amen! —Bill Brownson

As you pray, thank God for showing his mercy and patience to you.