“This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst.” (1 Timothy 1:15) NIV
I always count it a great joy to have received salvation from God through the Lord Jesus which I wouldn’t have attained. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works. So that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9). I am a sinner not because of the sinful acts that I find myself in, they are just the product of being a sinner. I sin because I am a sinner, it is not what I do that makes me a sinner. And because I am a sinner, perhaps the worst like apostle Paul has confessed of himself, Christ came to this world to save me. He found me, a sinner deeply involved in sin. He found me in “sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissentions, factions and envy; drunkards, orgies, and the like.” (Galatians 5:19-21).
My sinful state rendered me hopeless and alienated from God. Even though I was raised in a churchy environment, yet a sinner. I was doomed for destruction because “the wages of sin is death” as opposed to the gift of God which is “eternal life in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 6:23-24). It was until I heard his voice say to me, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28). Indeed, I realised a heavy weight was upon my shoulders, too weighty for me to carry. I realised it was weighty for me to keep carrying the burdens of “sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed… anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language” (Colossians 3:5-8) which are products of my earthly nature.
I heard his voice call, come to me and I will give you rest. I longed for that rest, I yielded to that voice and believed He will carry away my burden. I confessed Him my Lord and Saviour. I believed God has raised him from the dead (Romans 9:9-10). He forgave me my sins, and took charge of those things burdening me. Despite my typical human weakness, I can now boldly confess that “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20). He is in the business of transforming my life, for with him there is not just reformation but transformation. With Christ the driver of my life, I am certain that I am being formed into his likeness. I am persuaded of his coming again to receive me in his glorious kingdom, I anticipate his coming every day.
Where else all the above is true with me, it is true of humanity. For no single person can claim own righteousness before God, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23). The human state is a terrible one, with a heart terribly deceitful. Prophet Jeremiah long ago before Christ came said, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure” and he asks “Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). Only God can. Psychologists cannot, philosophers cannot, scientists cannot, only God can. He does not only understand the heart but offers a remedy for the human heart. It is for the state of the human heart, the sinful state that Christ came to the world, to save sinners. Since all have sinned, Christ came to save all. He didn’t come for Christians, he didn’t come for peoples of other religions, he came for all. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16).
Yes, Christ came to the world for the world. He came for every human being, he came for you and me that we might not perish but live in eternity with him. Without God and Christ, we are alienated from God and doomed for destruction. By Grace, God through Christ has offered us a way of salvation. He wants to reconcile all mankind to himself yet it is voluntary. He has offered the gift; it is up to you to take it or leave it. Will you take the gift of God, the grace that reconciles you with God and gives you the right to become his child? Will you acknowledge being a sinner for whom Christ has come to this world? Will you accept him as your Lord and Saviour today that you may be forgiven, set free and build an eternal relationship with Him?
Accepting Christ is not just about material gain here on earth even though He richly gives us everything for our enjoyment (1 Timothy 6:17). It is about being restored to God, it is about being restored to God’s original purpose for His creation of mankind. Eternity isn’t just life after death, it begins with one’s acceptance of Christ; that he came to the world to save sinners. It is acknowledging that you are a sinner and need Christ to save you from being a sinner to becoming a saint. As ably put by John Piper; “The gospel is not [just] a way to get people to heaven; it is a way to get people to God. It’s a way of overcoming every obstacle to everlasting joy in God. If we don’t want God above all things, we have not been converted by the gospel.” I call you to an acknowledgement that Christ Jesus came to the world to save sinners and that you are one. I call you to not only acknowledge you are a sinner but accept that only Christ and only Him alone can save you from sin.
Have you known the Lord Jesus and acknowledged him to be your Lord and Saviour? Then rejoice, for you have received the greatest gift – the gift of salvation. Stay rooted and established in Christ, surrender to his sanctifying power as he builds you up. If you have not been in a relationship with Christ and now have acknowledged being a sinner and would like to have a relationship with Christ, you may say this prayer with the hope of inviting Christ into your life.
“Heavenly Father, have mercy on me, a sinner. I believe in you and that your word is true. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God and that he died on the cross so that I may now have forgiveness for my sins and eternal life. I know that without you in my heart my life is meaningless.
I believe in my heart that you, Lord God, raised Him from the dead. Please Jesus forgive me, for every sin I have ever committed or done in my heart, please Lord Jesus forgive me and come into my heart as my personal Lord and Saviour today. I need you to be my Father and my friend.
I give you my life and ask you to take full control from this moment on; I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ.”
This message is written by Rev. Julius Izza Tabi who is a pastor in the Anglican Church of Uganda, Ma’di & West Nile Diocese. Julius served as an assistant Chaplain and lecturer at the Arua Campus of the Uganda Christin University. He is currently a candidate of Master of Philosophy in Religion, Society and Global Issues at Det Teologiske Menighetsfakultet alias the Norwegian School of Theology, in Oslo, Norway and is an assisting Priest at St. Edmund’s Anglican Church, in Oslo. For any pastoral assistance or support of this ministry you can email Rev. Julius you can also reach Rev. Julius here.