Saturday, August 8, 2015
“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. 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 1:15,16 KJV).
What can the Apostle Paul teach us about dispensational Bible study?
God’s wrath that was about to fall on Jesus-rejecting Israel in Acts chapter 7 never came. For 2,000 years now, that prophecy has been delayed. Today, sinful mankind continues to rub God’s nose in his sin. They marry whomever they want, worship whatever they want, steal whatever they want, kill whomever they want, oppress whomever they want, say whatever they want, and do whatever else they want. They replace Jesus Christ’s crosswork with their (meager) “righteous deeds.” Haughtily, they ask, “Just what are You going to do about it, God? Not saying or doing anything about what I am doing? You must not exist, then!”
Paul plainly declared in today’s Scripture what happened to the wrath that was literally moments away in early Acts. As Saul of Tarsus, Israel’s leader in arresting, torturing, and executing Messianic Jews, he was the primary character in God’s crosshairs. God’s wrath could have literally crushed Saul of Tarsus! He was “a blasphemer, a persecutor, and injurious” but he “obtained mercy,” because he “did it ignorantly in unbelief” (verse 13). Saul instead experienced “the GRACE of our Lord [that] was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus” (verse 14).
Saul’s worthless ministry was finished, permanently suspended. Now, he would be the first member of the Body of Christ. Saul would be the prime specimen of God’s longsuffering. Why has God’s wrath not yet fallen on this evil world? Look at Paul the pattern! The program that allowed Paul to escape God’s wrath is now operating today, that others may also escape that impending wrath. Oh, friend, may you not delay another second. Come by simple faith in Jesus Christ’s shed blood, His death, His burial, and His resurrection as sufficient payment for your sins. Follow Paul your pattern!