« PreviousContinue »
Salvation, a deliverance from error and sin, through
THE OBJECTS OF SALVATION ; AND ITS NATURE.
1. TIMOTHY, i. 15.
* This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, That Christ Jesus
came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am Chief.”
The subject on which the Apostle was speaking, and which led him to make the important declaration contained in our text, is worthy of special notice. Under a deep sense of the goodness of God, the grace which he had received in the Lord Jesus, the distinguished and important station in which he was placed by the great Captain of our salvation, it was impossible for him not to take a most humiliating retrospective view of his past life in the Jews religion, while an enemy to Jesus, a blasphemer, and a persecuter of the church. All these weighty considerations having their natural operations on his mind, seemed to present, in full view, before his mental vision, the great and glorious errand on which the Lord Jesus was sent into our world. If it could have been so, that the Apostle, while engaged in the ministry of Jesus, could have retained his former confidence in his own righteousness, and had been of opinion, that he was a favorite of heaven, that he was enlightened into the knowledge of the gospel, and even put into the ministry because his former conduct had merited these favors, it is evident that such views could never have led him to make the statement found in our text. Confirmed in such a persuasion, he would have preached a Saviour for the righteous, yea, for the righteous only. He
would have despised the least intimation of the salvation of sinners. He would, no doubt, have looked on such intimation, as an heresy of a most dangerous tendency. But the case with the great Apostle of the Gentiles was very different. He had been led to see that not as a righteous man, but as the chief of sinners he had been visited with the abundance of that grace by which he was so highly distinguished. He therefore looked on himself as sufficient proof of the testimony which he bore. Such as the following were, no doubt, the reflections of his mind ; I know for certainty, that I was a most deadly enemy of this lovely Jesus whom I now delight to serve; I know, that in my opposition to this religion, I was exceedingly mad, and I caused many of the harmless, inoffensive disciples of Christ, both men and women, to feel the weight of my displeasure. Such was my blind zeal, such the enmity that rankled in my heart against him and his doctrine, who was a friend to sinners, that “I thought I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus ;" and I persecuted the saints“ unto the death.” But, О wonderful to behold! I am now a 'most joyful subject of that grace to which I was such an enemy. From such reflections might very justly be drawn this conclusion ; “ This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief."
This testimony, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners is sufficiently corroborated by other scriptures. When those, in the days of Jesus, who thought they were righteous and despised others, found fault with the Saviour, because he was a friend to sinners, he plainly told them, that he “came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance;" he furthermore represented the same divine truth in that remarkably instructive saying; “ The whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.” Moreover, he enlarged on this subject in several beautiful parables, the design of which was to represent the repentance of sinners. The blessed Redeemer testified that “ God sent not his son into the world, to condemn the world,