The grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost (1 Tim. 1:14-15).
The Apostle Paul seemed to get the gospel backwards. In one of his earliest letters, he confessed that he was the “least of the apostles.” Later he wrote to others that he was the “least of God’s people.” Finally, toward the end of his life and ministry he wrote that he was the “foremost” of sinners.
The more mature he became, the worse he saw his sin. Isn’t that backwards? Shouldn’t he have been getting better and better? Of course, we are right to expect Paul’s behavior to improve as his walk with Christ matured, but that is not his point.
The more Paul understood the sacrifice of his Savior, the more he detested the sin that required it. Paul did not get worse; he simply saw his wrongs more realistically.
This perspective did not lead Paul to despair – quite the opposite. The more he recognized the magnitude of his sin, the more the cross of Jesus was magnified in his heart.
Yes, Paul’s sin got worse in his estimation, but consequently the cross of Jesus got larger in his appreciation. So, far from despairing, he wrote, “The grace of our Lord overflowed for me.”
We don’t have to be afraid of confessing the magnitude of our sin to God. He already knows it, and our love and faith will only increase as his overflowing grace overwhelms our guilt and shame.
God, be merciful to me, a great sinner in need of a greater Savior. Let me see the magnitude of my sin so that I am overwhelmed by the magnificence of the cross where grace overflows for me.