"This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners"--and I am the worst of them all." 1 Timothy 1:15 I often find it remarkable that Paul says he is the worst of sinners. Not that I don't believe him, but the humility that he demonstrates in saying it strikes me. Here is someone who wrote most of the New Testament identifying his sin as worse than everyone else. When it comes to sin, we often compare ourselves to others, "at least I haven't sinned as bad as they have." How many people would even say they are the worst of all sinners, even compared to the greatest known people in our day who committed horrible crimes? I know I would struggle to say that. Yet we know from scripture that we are called to have humility. "Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." 1 Peter 5:5 With humility comes the ability to see our sins and the more aware we are of our sin, the more understanding we have of God's grace in our lives.
It's important for us as Christians to have an accurate understanding of just how sinful we are. Paul says in Galatians, "I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, than there was no need for Christ to die." (2:21) If our sin isn't really that bad, then Christ died for nothing. Spurgeon said, "Too many think lightly of sin, and therefore think lightly of the Savior." We have to understand the absolute holiness of God to see how even what we consider "good deeds" are as filthy rags in the sight of God (Is. 64:6)
When we explain away our actions, blame others for what we've done, justify, make light of our sins, we "minimize the greatness of God's grace in atoning for our evil." (Randy Alcorn) It isn't until we see our sins in the humble perspective in which Paul saw his sins that we are able to fully understand God's grace and the significance of Christ's substitutionary death on the cross. Then we can sing along with fellow saints with true gladness and heartfelt gratitude, "Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!"
Christina Fox is a licensed psychotherapist, a mom of two wild boys and an avid blogger. You can find her writing about her mothering journey at www.toshowthemjesus.com