"I am" not "I was"
Was is a verb used to describe things in the past tense. There are many instances in our lives where we are glad to use the term "was". I was foolish. There are other instances in our lives when we grieve the use of the word. I was thin.
The same is true theologically. There are many things that fall in the category of the past that we celebrate. We were children of darkness. We were dead in our trespasses and sins. We were alienated from God. We celebrate being able to use past tense terms to describe our position or behaviors that are not in line with the character and conduct of God. I was therefore gripped by Paul's statement, "that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost". He didn't say, "I was the foremost". Paul writing towards the end of his life says of himself, "I am the foremost of sinners". Some translations say, "I am the chief of sinners". How could this be? He was saved by grace. He was adopted into the family of God. He was declared holy by God. He has received the righteousness of Jesus Christ. He has been justified by God. Why would Paul say, "I am the foremost of sinners"? Paul is keenly aware that although positionally he is declared righteous before God, he is being saved. He is in a process of sanctification. God is still transforming Him into the image of His son. As a result, the closer Paul gets to God the more he realizes how far away he is from being like Christ. He therefore speaks out of humility and says of himself, "I am the foremost of sinners". I know who I am and how far I am away from the goal. Others may celebrate what they see in me, but I know what how far I still have to go to be transformed into the image of Christ. So Paul says, "I am the foremost of sinners".
Choose today to humbly and honestly evaluate your journey. Not a woe is me evaluation nor a condemning evaluation, but an honest evaluation. Declare: I am thankful for where God has brought me from, but I still have a long way to go. The only thing any of us have to boast about is Christ.
Created over 2 years ago