How we view ourselves reflects how we see the world and our place in it. Prideful people don’t see themselves making mistakes. If, by chance, they are caught in a mistake, they do everything they can to deflect the responsibility for the error from themselves. On the other hand, a humble person is more likely to accept their culpability than a prideful person. At least when it comes to issues of self-image. The humble person doesn’t need to maintain the idea that they are perfect. The humble individual knows her flaws and accepts them, striving to improve. 

In 1 Timothy 1:15, Paul writes something interesting. 

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.

1 Timothy 1:15 (NIV)

I see two parts in this verse. The first part is the “trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance:” Jesus came to save sinners. If anyone wants to know why Jesus was born, that’s why. Jesus came into being so that the relationship between humanity and God, broken in the Garden of Eden, could be mended. The second part of this verse, “of whom I am the worst,” is not part of the trustworthy saying. This is why, in Sunday school, we don’t teach that Paul was the worst of sinners.

While Paul is referring to himself, his statement isn’t boastful. Instead, it reflects his remorse over his persecution of the church and, most importantly, a change in perception. 

Paul was considered a “Pharisee of Pharisees” because of his fervent adherence to the law and persecution of the church. Thus, to believe himself the “worst” of sinners was contrary, to say the least, to the former opinion he had of himself. 

Although Paul was referring to himself when he called himself the worst of sinners, all of us should consider ourselves the “worst” because we are all responsible for Jesus’ death on the cross. Indeed, we shouldn’t look around and think we’re not “that bad.” Instead, we should do as it says in Romans. 

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you (emphasis added).

Romans 12:3 (NIV)

Sober judgment realizes that you were once a sinner living in opposition to God. It acknowledges that you were dead in sin and hellbound until you accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior. Sober judgment realizes that no one is righteous. Not even one. Personalizing Paul’s statement about being the worst of sinners in 1 Timothy reflects a change in mindset that allows us to battle self-righteous thought. 

Do you know God? God knows you, and he loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, and he wants you to know him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, freed from death, and live eternally with him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation:

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and on the third day, God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart and receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.