Year C – Seventeenth Sunday in Pentecost – 1 Timothy 1:12-17

1 Timothy 1:12-17 NRSV

12 I am grateful to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because he judged me faithful and appointed me to his service, 13 even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a man of violence. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the foremost. 16 But for that very reason I received mercy, so that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display the utmost patience, making me an example to those who would come to believe in him for eternal life. 17 To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

Summary – In this passage Paul praises God for being gracious and merciful to him, the chief of sinners. Paul’s past sin of persecuting the church and blaspheming God did not make him unworthy of salvation, he testifies. For the whole reason Jesus Christ came into this world was to save sinners, even the foremost! And Paul says that it was for that very reason that he in fact did receive mercy – because he was the worst of all sinners, and Jesus Christ wanted to use him to show other sinners that their sins do not disqualify them from receiving eternal life.

 Insight – How many people have you heard say something like, “Oh, I can’t come to God yet, I need to get my life right first, and then I’ll come.” Or, “God would never want me in heaven, I am too much of a sinner.” Or, “My sins are way too great, I’m already going to hell, I know it.”  Well, the one thing that is true about such statement is that the person is a sinner. This is true. And yes, it is true that sin separates us from God. But to think that God does not desire a persons salvation because of their sin is completely backwards. God desires to save people who are sinners! “This is a trustworthy statement, deserving of full acceptance,  that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” God is not in the business of helping those who have it all together. God desires more than anything to save sinners. Your sin is not a hindrance from you obtaining eternal life, in fact, being a sinner is a prerequisite! And God demonstrates His patience in saving sinners by showing us in Paul’s life, that if God saved the worst of sinners, He desires to save you as well.

Catechism – Q. For who did Christ Jesus came into the world to save? A. Sinners.

Discussion – Does your sin ever make you think that God no longer wants you? If you were a sinner before God saved you and chose to show His love for you, how much more so does God love you and want you to be saved now that you are reconciled to Him by His grace and mercy?

Prayer – To the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, honor and glory be your name forever and ever. For in your infinite and everlasting patience, you came to this world to save sinful humans. Our sins is not a stumbling block for you saving us. Thank you God that you you save sinners totally and completely, even the worst. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Year B – Proper 23 – All Glory Be to God Alone

The Hymn, All Glory Be to God Alone, is attributed to Martin Luther in 1543, although that is uncertain. It was published with the tune All Her Und Lob, first published in Strasburg in 1541. The title captures a central cry of the Reformation, quite in keeping with the message of Luther: Soli Deo Gloria.  The tune sounds like that blend of  unpredictable Renaissance music with a familiar traditional hymn cadence. It teaches that  God is Lord over all and to Him belongs the glory because of Christ’s redemption.  This is clear in vs 4:

Thou dost the world’s sin take away;
Have mercy on us, Lord, we pray.
Thou dost the world’s sin take away;
Give ear unto the prayer we say.
Thou sitt’st at God’s right hand for aye;
Have mercy on us, Lord, we pray.

****

1 All glory be to God alone,
Forevermore the Highest One,
Who doth our sinful race befriend
And grace and peace to us extend.
Among mankind may His good will
All hearts with deep thanksgiving fill.

2 We praise Thee, God, and Thee we bless;
We worship Thee in humbleness;
From day to day we glorify Thee,
Everlasting God on high.
Of Thy great glory do we sing,
And e’er to Thee our thanks we bring.

3 Lord God, our King on heaven’s throne,
Our Father, the Almighty One.
O Lord, the Sole-begotten One,
Lord Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son,
True God from all eternity,
O Lamb of God, to Thee we flee.

4 Thou dost the world’s sin take away;
Have mercy on us, Lord, we pray.
Thou dost the world’s sin take away;
Give ear unto the prayer we say.
Thou sitt’st at God’s right hand for aye;
Have mercy on us, Lord, we pray.

5 Thou only art the Holy One;
Thou art o’er all things Lord alone.
O Jesus Christ, we glorify
Thee only as the Lord Most High;
Thou art, the Holy Ghost with Thee,
One in the Father’s majesty.

6 Amen, this ever true shall be,
As angels sing adoringly.
By all creation, far and wide,
Thou, Lord, art ever glorified;
And Thee all Christendom doth praise
Now and through everlasting days.