Pauls Testimony 1 Tim. 1:2-17 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
In 1 Tim 1:12-17 we read about Pauls testimony. Pauls testimony is a testimony of Christ’s:
Enabling – 1 Tim 1:12 – Christ provided Paul with the means, the opportunity, the power and the authority to minister through preaching and teaching God’s word. Right after Paul was saved, he knew he had been “called” to preach [Acts 9:15-16] and immediately he preached Christ in the synagogues in Damascus [Acts 9:20]. However, he left Damascus and spent sufficient time in Arabia, for the Lord to reveal the things to Paul that enabled him to minster [Gal 1:11-18]. Afterwards, he returned to Damascus until the Jews took counsel to kill him, at which time he went to Jerusalem [Acts 9:23-26]. This period of enabling was three years.
Notice that, while it was the Lord who enabled Paul and put him into the ministry, it was Paul’s faithfulness that God counted. In other words, faithfulness is required in ministers [1 Cor 4:1-2].
Mercy – 1 Tim 1:13 – if it hadn’t been for the Lord’s mercy, Paul would have never been put into the ministry, much less have been saved. By his own testimony he was a blasphemer, a persecutor and injurious [Acts 26:9-11; 8:3].
His zeal against Christ and the church was due to ignorance and unbelief. He had been taught according to the perfect manner of the law and was zealous toward God [Acts 22:3-4]. But, he was “blind” to Jesus [Jn 9:39-41]. In other words, had he known, he wouldn’t have persecuted the church. So, once Jesus appeared to him, that settled it and Paul was saved [Acts 9:3-6].
Grace – 1 Tim 1:14 – Paul’s life is a testimony to the grace of God [Jn 1:17]. As we see from his life, we are saved by grace [Eph 2:8-9]. We labor by the grace of God [1 Cor 15:10; Eph 3:7-8]. We receive spiritual gifts according to the grace of God [Rom 12:6]. We give abundantly by the grace of God [2 Cor 8:1-2]. We are strengthened by the grace of God [2 Cor 12:7-20]. The grace of God in Paul’s life was exceeding abundant.
In addition to grace, Paul was given faith and love in Christ Jesus. This is “the” faith that is in Christ [1 Tim 3:13], which is specifically connected to his words [1 Tim 4:6; 2 Tim 1:13, 3:15]. See also Gal 2:16, 2:20. And this love is the love that comes from God [Gal 5:22; Rom 5:5], which we receive when we receive Jesus.
Salvation – 1 Tim 1:15 – Christ came into the world to save sinners. Paul said this is a faithful saying. That is, we can count on it; it’s just as true today as it was the day Jesus rose from the dead. And Paul said this saying is worthy of all acceptation. In other words, since we are all sinners and Christ died for all of us, then we should all accept his free gift of salvation.
Paul said of sinners, “I am chief.” He didn’t say, “I was chief.” Paul understood the vast difference between the righteousness and holiness of the Lord and the very best a saved sinner can be. As David said, “… every man at his best state is altogether vanity,” [Ps 39:5]. The other thing about Paul’s confession that he is the chief sinner is this, “if he saved me, he can save anybody.”
Longsuffering – 1 Tim 1:16 – Paul’s salvation demonstrates the longsuffering of God. The Lord put up with Paul for a long time before he was saved. Many of God’s people suffered in the meantime. The Lord suffered. In Acts 9:4, the Lord asked, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” The Lord didn’t stop him, he didn’t kill him. He just waited and suffered and finally Paul was saved. He’ll do the same for any sinner. That’s the pattern.
Glory – 1 Tim 1:17 – Paul gave the Lord honour and glory for this. And in so doing he tells us that Jesus Christ is:
- King – Jesus is the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, higher than all other powers.
- Eternal – 1 Jn 5:20, writing of Jesus Christ, John said, “this is the true God, and eternal life.” All other “gods” had a beginning and have had or will have an end.
- Immortal – Rom 6:9, death has no more dominion over Jesus. All other “gods” have died or will die [i.e., Mohammad].
- Invisible – he is here among us, yet no one can see him [Jn 14:18, 23; Matt 18:20]. Thus, there should be no statue or picture of him to worship.
- The only wise God – He alone is wise [Prov 21:30]. 1 Cor 1:30, he is to us wisdom. All the other gods are “dumb,” [1 Cor 12:2].
Conclusion: Pauls testimony is simple. If it weren’t for the longsuffering, mercy, salvation, enabling and grace of God, we wouldn’t be studying 1 Timothy and there would have never been a Paul, the apostle. But because of these five things, Paul was saved and became the greatest apostle among the apostles and the author of 14 New Testament books. Glory to God!! Pauls testimony is a remarkable testimony of the work of the Lord in his life.