“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
There is a timeline for introspection. Both the Psalmist and the apostle Paul reflected on their past sins. By doing so they saw God’s grace more clearly. The same principle applies to you and me.
The reason why introspection – examining our heart (2 Corinthians 13:5) – requires a timeline is that we see God’s grace most clearly when we see the enormity of our sin. God’s grace shines through the darkness of our depravity like a brilliant ray of sunshine cutting through stormy clouds. It was when the apostle Paul honestly reflected on his past (13) that he recognized the enormity of God’s grace (14). In reflecting on the past, he came to realize the present reality that Christ came to save even the chief – foremost – of sinners (15). With that knowledge he could look forward with confidence to the future because Jesus Himself has promised, “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32).
May the same be true for you and me! As we acknowledge sins of the past, we may have the present reality of forgiveness, with future confidence through faith in Christ alone, knowing He came to save sinners. And there is a time to let the past go, trusting with blessed assurance that “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).
Suggestions for prayer
Ask the Lord to convict and comfort you through the Spirit’s work. Thank Him that His Word is “sharper than any two-edged sword…discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). And pray for those whom you misled, or caused to stumble, that they too would come to repentance and faith.
Pastor Ted Gray is a retired minister in the United Reformed Church of North America. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.