Monday, April 9, 2012
“Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting” (1 Timothy 1:16 KJV).
Imagine seeing the entire universe. Zooming in, we see the Local Group, a massive coalescence of dozens of galaxies. In the Local Group, we find the Milky Way, and in the Milky Way, we find our Solar System, eight bodies and their natural satellites orbiting Sun. One of these eight bodies is Earth. Earth, the “blue and green marble,” appears very peaceful and hospitable. Beware!! The chief occupants are sinners!
Our holy and righteous Creator, Jesus Christ, is currently looking down from heaven, and He sees us humans, some of the most wretched, miserable, and selfish creatures. Mankind’s sin has so complicated His simple and “very good” creation (Genesis 1:31). Earth, viewed from outer space, seems so appealing… until you consider its residents—the wicked human race. We (mankind) have caused God such indescribable grief. Once, God was so “grieved” by man’s sin that He literally sent a global flood to destroy the earth and most of the human race (Genesis 6:5-7).
We may never fully understand it, but God had such pity on us that He came to rescue from our sins. He became a Man, Jesus Christ, to save us from ourselves, to die for our sins. God even knew most of mankind would totally disregard His sacrificial death, but He had such longsuffering, mercy, and grace that He still went to Calvary’s cross to purchase our salvation. God in His abounding grace, mercy, and longsuffering is still tolerating wicked mankind.
The Apostle Paul, before salvation, was anti-God. Saul had God’s people imprisoned and/or put to death; he hated Jesus of Nazareth (Acts 26:9-11; Galatians 1:13,14; Timothy 1:13). And yet, as today’s Scripture teaches, God saved Saul, “shewing forth all longsuffering.” If God could save His chief enemy, Saul, and make him Paul our Apostle, and if He could save us wretched infidels who still enjoy sin, we exclaim, having eternally thankful hearts, “Behold, God’s abounding longsuffering!”