'A to Z' of the Gospel
It was near the end of his life. In just a few years, Paul, the most famous Christian of all time, would be executed under Nero in A.D. 68. When Paul wrote 1 Timothy he had already been on his wildly successful church planting journeys, written Romans, his Magnum opus, and endured a lifetime of sanctification. Yet, as the greatest Christian of all time came to the end of his life, here’s what he said: “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.” (1 Timothy 1:15)
This type of Bible talk used to confuse and frustrate me. Why would the greatest Christian of all time claim to be the worst sinner of all time? I thought it was some false humility, like when one who is insecure is fishing for compliments. Yet the more I come to understand the Gospel, the more I understand what Paul meant here.
In Tim Keller’s excellent article, The Centrality of the Gospel he suggests the same thing saying,
“We never “get beyond the gospel” in our Christian life to something more “advanced”. The gospel is not the first “step” in a “stairway” of truths, rather, it is more like the “hub” in a “wheel” of truth. The gospel is not just the A-B-C’s but the A to Z of Christianity. The gospel is not just the minimum required doctrine necessary to enter the kingdom, but the way we make all progress in the kingdom.”
The logic is this:
The more I grow in Christ, the more sensitive my heart becomes to sin.
The more sensitive my heart becomes to sin, the more sin I see in my life.
The more sin I see in my life the more delighted I am that I have a great Savior.
The more I delight in Christ as my Savior, the more I honor Him.
My friends, a sign of healthy Christian life is not that “you get the Gospel” but that “you never get over the Gospel.”
The greatest sinners need the greatest Savior.