Read 1 Timothy 1:12-20
It happened periodically . . . often enough, I guess, to remind us that Paul’s story and the great truths he wrote were more than just words on a page. They were very personal, emotional, and stirring. And so, seemingly without restraint, the apostle allowed words of praise to flow freely from his pen and find expression on the page.
And that is what Paul did in verse 17 of today’s reading: “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
Paul, you see, had just recounted his own sinful past. Included in his description of himself are words like “blasphemer,” “persecutor,” “violent man,” and “worst of sinners.” What words would you use to describe your life before Christ?
But even though his sin was great, greater still was grace. Even though his sin seemed to know no bounds, God was ready with a limitless supply of mercy and patience. The result was a transformed life. He was a different man.
Paul’s story from the past had deeply impacted the present. At the time of the writing, he was a servant of God. As he penned these words, he considered himself an example of what God can do in the life of anyone. His story was not merely one of the past. It was one that was still impacting his present. It was one that was still giving rise to praise.
If you have a story of conversion, is it one that ends with a prayer or is it one that has an ongoing personal dimension of how your life has been and is being changed?
Take warning from Hymenaeus and Alexander. Paul didn’t give us their whole story. From the sound of verses 18-20, they launched their ship of faith out onto the treacherous waters of life. They had an initial story, but somewhere along the course, their ship ran aground. They suffered shipwreck. Their faith story came to an abrupt stop.
Paul’s lesson to Timothy . . . and to us . . . is essentially, “Don’t let that be you! Having started well in faith, in ministry, and in living a godly life, stay on that path. Hang on to faith and a good conscience. Keep returning to biblical instruction and stay engaged in the battle.”