As we enter the month of December when Christmas is celebrated, I encourage you to quietly ponder why Jesus came to the earth. Was it to be a model for how to live? Was it to demonstrate His godly power? Was it to recruit disciples for His kingdom purposes? Just what was the main reason for why Jesus came to the earth? I believe 1 Timothy 1:15 -17 gives us the answer. Here is what it says written by Paul the Apostle:
“15. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. 16. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life. 17. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”
Let’s ponder each verse separately:
Verse 15 –
This is a faithful saying because it is the Word of God and can be totally dependent upon to speak truth. There is no error, lies or mistaken information in God’s Word. We have all heard the term, “fake news.” Well, God’s Word is never fake news. We can always put our trust in it and believe each word included in it. It is worthy of all acceptance because it applies to all, tells what God has done for all, and extends the gift of salvation to all. The gift of eternal life is possible for all because Christ Jesus (sinless man) came from heaven to earth. This suggests that He pre-existed because He came to the earth from His previous dwelling. Bethlehem was not the beginning of His existence. He had dwelt with God the Father for all eternity, but He came into the world as a man on a specific mission at a specific designated time. Why did Jesus come? Christ Jesus did not come merely to set an example or to show that He cared. He came to save sinners. It was not to save good people (there were none). Neither was it to save those who kept the law perfectly (there were none who had done this either). Jesus alone, the perfect sinless man, came to save sinners. This is the Gospel message in a nutshell and the reason why we celebrate Christmas. The Gospel is that Christ took our place and died for our sins on the cross, was buried, and rose on the third day. The Gospel tells man that he is a sinner, that he is lost, that he cannot save himself, and that the only way he can get to heaven and have eternal life is through the substitutionary work of the Lord Jesus on the cross. All those who believe this and receive His finished work for them are saved. They are saved from God’s wrath and coming judgment upon sinners. They are restored in a right relationship with God and receive His free gift of eternal life. So, Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. This is why Jesus came and was born in the manger. Since Paul had violently persecuted the church (the body of Christ), he realized that he was the chief of sinners. In other words, Paul saw the deprivation of his sin and understood the sinfulness of all human beings. In looking closer, he placed himself first among all sinners. He did not say “was” but “am” chief. How could it be that this man who was a deeply religious man, one who had been brought up in an orthodox Jewish home would declare such a thing about himself? No matter how much training and doctrinally correct he thought he was, he did not accept the Word of God concerning the Person and sacrificial work of Jesus Christ. Rejection of Jesus, the Son of God, is the greatest of sins for it leads to damnation and eternal separation from God.
Verse 16 –
However, since Paul was a severe persecutor of God’s people, he had a deeper appreciation for the mercy of God. If God was patient and gracious enough to save Paul, He is patient and gracious enough to save anyone. It does not matter how wicked they may be. All who are worried that their sins are too great, can look back at Paul as an example of God’s forgiveness and restoration. They can comfort themselves that since the Lord has already saved the chief of sinners, they too can be saved. Paul was God’s chief display or pattern for God’s mercy. We see so much wickedness in our world today and may wonder why God does not strike down evil doers. Once again, He is longsuffering and extends mercy desiring that all be saved.
Verse 17 –
As Paul thinks of God’s abundant mercy and longsuffering towards him, he bursts out into praise in this verse. The King may refer to God the Father and/or the Son. He is eternal and immortal. This speaks of His being incorruptible and imperishable. He has and always will exist. He has no beginning nor an end. God in His essence is also invisible. Men have seen appearances of God in the Old Testament, and the Lord Jesus fully revealed God to us in visible form, but the fact remains that God is a Spirit and mostly invisible to human eyes. Then it says, “God who alone is wise.” We see how wise man thinks he is and where his wisdom has gotten us today. Yet, in the final analysis, true wisdom comes from God (see James 1:5 and Colossians 2:3). What was the reason for why Jesus came to the earth? To save sinners. This is the true Christmas message to celebrate. Has Jesus saved you? If not, go to our home page and see how to have eternal life. If yes, then like Paul, give Him honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.