Contrasting Prototypes

1Timothy 1:15 – This saying is reliable and deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – and I’m the biggest sinner of all. (CEB)

Notice the contrast: I thank Christ, who has given me strength, because he considered me faithful and has appointed me to service (vs. 12); even though I used to speak against him, attack his people, and I was proud because I acted in ignorance and without faith (vs. 13). He considered me faithful (vs. 12), not because of my ignorance and pride, but because his own faithfulness and love were poured all over me (vs. 14). The King of the Ages, the Immortal, the Invisible, the only God (vs. 17) has come into the world – visibly, in human form – to rescue those missing the mark, of which I am the prototype (vs. 15). I am the example, not of God’s wrath, but of God’s grace; I have been shown mercy so the endless patience of Christ could be shown to all (vs. 16).

Now, we have confidence through Christ in the presence of God; not because we have done anything to give us the confidence to stand before God, but that God in Christ has qualified us to stand in confidence (2Cor. 3:4-5). God has qualified us as servants of a New Testament, not based on works of stone but on the Spirit, because our works kill us, but the works of the Spirit in us brings a life of faith (2Cor. 3:6). This is the Good News that has been spoken into all creation under heaven (Col. 1:23). Solely through the exercising of God’s own power we are all servants of God’s New Testament (Eph. 3:7). And it is the power of God that works in us, that strengthens us, to be faithful in all things and not count on ourselves (Phil. 4:13).

Faith is the power of Christ’s strength at work in us (Eph. 6:10) as faithful servants in the service of reconciliation (2Cor. 5:18). As God was in Christ reconciling creation to himself – not counting all its faults – so the faithfulness of Christ is in us to empower the fullness of the Good News (2Tim. 4:17); trusting us, prototypes of those who miss the mark, with the Good News of Christ’s endless patience and grace (2Cor. 5:19) as an example for all.

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