by Dan Winkler
There are 2 kinds of forgiveness:
1. Divine Forgiveness: God forgiving us
2. Mankind forgiveness: our forgiving each other
Forgiveness is a gift that God has given us.
We need to keep in mind what God does when He forgives us because that’s what we need to do for ourselves and for one another.
A feeling of guilt and shame
2 Corinthians 12
Paul wrote about a “thorn in the flesh”, that he had been given because of the great revelation he received from God, and it was given to keep him humble.
Paul didn’t want it and asked God to remove it 3 times, but God replied that He would not do it, since His grace is sufficient. And Paul learned to grow spiritually strong dealing with it.
There are many ideas of what the “thorn in the flesh” could have been. It could refer to Paul wrestling with his past; His sense of shame over the way he behaved prior to his conversion to Jesus. He was troubled by this sense of guilt since and it is evident because he wrote about it over and over again.
What could keep him more humble than remembering the way he mistreated Christians before he became one of them? This caused Paul to face his past constantly.
The choices and actions he made in the past resulted in adverse consequences for others. This caused him to feel shameful and guilty.
1st Timothy 1:12-17
“I thank Him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord. Because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer persecutor and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief and the grace of Our Lord overflowed for me with faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving a full acceptance that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me as the first or the foremost Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience, as an example to those who were to believe in Him for eternal life. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, The Only God be honor and glory forever and ever”
Paul was very grateful for Jesus Christ
Verses 12 and 13
“For me to live is Christ, to die is gain…
“It is no longer either live, but Christ lives in me…”
“But then Christ, who is our life…”
Jesus shouldn’t be first in our life; He should be all in your life. He gave his life for us, he made everything new.
“I thank Him who has given me strength…”
The word Dunamis means the power; in Romans 1:16 we find the dunamis, the power of God unto salvation, and before it is the preposition “in” so it would say: I thank Him, who has empowered me. Paul stated that there are things that he can accomplish because Jesus Christ empowered him
“He judged me faithful, appointing me to his service…”
Paul said that Jesus empowered him and put him into his service. We find the word diakonia as Deaconess, which means service.
“Though formerly…” Paul said that in the past he was a blasphemer, a vocal opponent of Jesus; he was a persecutor, this means that he would go after people who believed in Jesus and mistreat them. He was a vicious opponent of Jesus; and he was an insolent and violent man.
Paul was called Saul before his conversion to Jesus … “But Saul still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest, asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus”. Paul was breathing threats and murder against the Apostles
Paul said “I myself was convinced that I ought to do many things in opposing the name of Jesus of Nazareth. I did so in Jerusalem, I not only locked up many of the Saints in prison after receiving authority from the chief priests. But when they were put to death I cast my vote against them, I threw my stone…” This means that he voted for Christians to be murdered. He went out to find them; he would bring them back, would incarcerate them, and voted for their death.
Verse 11: “I punished them often, in all the synagogues and tried to make them blaspheme” He was a blasphemer and wanted others to be so, in raging fury (like a maniac) Paul persecuted them even to foreign cities.
This is what he was speaking about when he said that he was a vocal, vicious, violent opponent of Jesus.
This is why Paul was grateful to Jesus Christ, because Christ led him into the ministry as a server, despite the kind of person he used to be, and he rose above his past self and also from his feelings of guilt and shame.
Paul thought a lot about Jesus
“The grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving full acceptance that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost…”
Lord, Christ, Jesus Christ, Jesus is mentioned 5 times in these 2 verses, referring to The Son of God.
The word Jesus is found 935-965 times in the New Testament
The word Christ is found 535 times
The personal name, Jesus is used almost twice as much as the positional name, Christ.
Christ is a term of position, not a name. The word Christos, Christ is the Greek equivalent (found in the New Testament) to the word Messiah found in the Old Testament. Christ means: The Anointed, Jesus is God’s anointed.
This anointing came when Jesus was baptized (Baptism means immersion in water, not sprinkling), as he came out of the water and the Holy Spirit came and descended upon him.
Acts 10:38 refers to Jesus of Nazareth as “anointed by God with the Holy Spirit and with power… who went doing good, healing those who were oppressed by the devil.”
The name Jesus is found in the New Testament, and it is also found in the Old Testament as Joshua, both meaning: He who saves. We might need to think more about Jesus as our Savior.
Paul writes about the Lord, as The Anointed and as The Savior.
“I, myself, have reason for confidence in the flesh…if anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more…I circumcised on the 8th day like an Orthodox Jew should be. I’m of the people of Israel; I’m an Israelite, a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin”
Paul talked about his physical heritage, he came from the Benjaminites, who were the elite among the Jewish people, he came from the lineage of Jacob, and Abraham.
“I was a Pharisee, of the strictest sect of our people; as zeal, I persecuted the church, as to righteousness under the law, you couldn’t lay anything against me, I was blameless. But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ…”
“Because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus, my Lord, for his sake I suffered the loss of all things…”
“I want to be in Christ…”
“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection…”
Paul stated that he wanted to live in Christ, to know the power of Jesus being raised from the dead; proving to be the Son of God. Paul wanted to live like Christ so that one day he could live with Him.
What does grace mean?
“The grace of our Lord overflowed for me”
Usually, we hear grace is God’s unmerited favor toward man.
Paul gave us insight into what grace is
“But God being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses made us alive together with Christ by grace you have been saved and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus so then the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus by grace you have been saved through faith”
The first word we find is mercy: God shows his feeling for us through Jesus Christ.
The second word is love: It is agape love, which desires what is best for the one that is loved; God showed these feelings for mankind by sending Jesus Christ.
The third word is kindness: These are the feelings extended to man; He treats us in ways that we don’t deserve.
The ingredients that make up the Grace of God are: mercy, love and kindness.
A God who feels with us, feels for us and has feelings that extend to us: That’s grace.
1st Timothy 1
“The grace of Our Lord overflowed for me…” this means the mercy, love and kindness of Our Lord overflowed me.
Paul was thinking about Jesus, he said that the mercy, love and kindness of our “Lord overflowed for him with faith and love in Christ Jesus…”
“Christ Jesus came to the world to save sinners, of whom I am prototype (protoss)…”
1st Corinthians 15
Paul talked about the Apostles, and he said: “I’m the least of the Apostles, not worthy to even be called an apostle…” He believed that he should be the first one standing in the row of all the sinners, he said that he is the first of all sinners to ever live; but the mercy, love and kindness from Jesus overflowed to even him.
If you want to deal with your past, instead of thinking about how you feel, about what you have done; you can focus on thinking more about how Jesus feels about you all the time.
Paul loved to talk to others about Jesus Christ
“I received mercy for this reason, that in me as the first or the foremost Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience, as an example to those who were to believe in Him for eternal life.”
Paul said that he received mercy so Jesus could exhibit His perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in Him for eternal life, in that way the world could have an example of how the grace of Lord Jesus saved the Apostle Paul.
Paul stated that Jesus saved even him despite his horrible mistakes, so he may show everybody what Jesus can mean to all of us.
In the Bible, in the New Testament, we find the word witness meaning testimony or testify as a verb.
Jesus is speaking to the Apostles: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you. And you will be my witness in Jerusalem, and all Judea, and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Acts 2, Act 8 and Acts 10: we find the word testify
In the New Testament, the book of Acts, tells us about the beginnings, the spreading and the growing of the church.
This book tells that these people were witnesses and testified to others what Jesus had done positively in their lives.
Paul did not try to hide his past. The more he grew in Christ the more he became aware of his sinful history. He tried to become a better person by obeying Christ’s teachings.
Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out