I am the Chief of Sinners
(#153 from Suffer Well Devotional Series©)
“This is a trustworthy saying, and deserves all acceptance: Yahshua the Messiah came into the world to save sinners, of who I am chief.” (1Timothy 1:15)
Previous to Damascus (Acts 9:3), Shaul hated Yahshua and all that He stood for. It was not until a blazing (mind piercing) light (heavenly illumination) struck him, that Shaul came to understand Yahshua as his own Messiah. With a correct application of the timeline, we must pay very close attention to the timing of Shaul’s words above; “Of who I am chief.” Is Shaul calling himself chief sinner after his redemption? What’s going on here? Those who are sanctified in the Messiah Yahshua are called to be saints (1 Corinthians 1:2), yet Shaul is identifying himself as a sinner? Exactly! Shaul is really identifying the nature of his flesh (sinful nature; Galatians 5:16-21).
Shaul understood salvation in way that is very different than it is presented in today’s church. He would press on towards the goal of salvation, the upward call, (a completely renewed spiritual mind; Philippians 3:14), and in doing so would have never claimed to be “good,” for he believed Yahshua’s own words that not even He, the Messiah, was good, giving all glory to Yahweh alone (Luke 18:19).
“That in me first, Yahshua the Messiah might display all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him [Yahweh] for everlasting life.” (1 Timothy 1:16)
Shaul came to understand that he would be an example to many future generations of chosen ones. An example, which if understood correctly, would always leave you able and ready to say, “I am, in my sinful nature, the chief of sinners.” And this you would understand even after your personal confession that “Yahshua is my Messiah!” Why? Because it is only ever Yahshua “in you” that is your hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). Never would Shaul have meditated on some glory due to his own efforts, his own goodness, for it was through him that the Spirit spoke; “There is none righteous, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10) Shaul’s righteousness would be found only in the Mighty One through the Messiah (Philippians 3:9). Even after the light of Yahshua had shown on him, he would admit, “My best in my own strength is sin, nothing more.”
It is the “self” life directed by the ego that Yahshua claimed you must lose. As you continually reject any idea of your own goodness, the light of Yahshua, commanded by Yahweh Himself, will begin the takeover. This is a model prayer, which can be uttered by the humbled saints who, by love, have been forced to see this truth;
“Don’t let me be me any longer Father. Don’t let me think for myself. Let only Your Spirit, through the life of Your Son in me, make every decision. Please Father, don’t let my own will succeed.”