If you own a blog, or if you’re one who keeps a journal, one of the things you get to witness is how your writing style evolves over time. Last spring, I went through a blog purge. I went back and reviewed all of my posts for two things. I reviewed for the sake of seeing how my writing has changed, but more importantly, I wanted to see how my belief has evolved. Anything that I felt was poorly written, misguided – either by immaturity or poor understanding – or just felt irrelevant, I deleted. Everything dated prior to 2016 on my blog today survived the purge. While purging, I discovered something unexpected.
Way back in 2009, I published a short article called Why Did God Save Me? Little did I know that this article would become probably the most read article of my entire blog. Shaneshack isn’t a high traffic website. I don’t get hundreds of readers a week. I have a core of faithful readers who usually read when I post, but that’s about it. That said, Why Did God Save Me? has consistently had readers ever since it was published. Since I discovered this, on any given day I can check my stats, and I’ll see something like this.
This is a long overdue part two. Apparently, the question of why did God save me is more common than I thought. Yesterday I began reading 1 Timothy and this verse leaped off the page:
But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. (1 Timothy 1:16 ESV)
In 2009 I addressed two questions:
- What have I been saved from?
- What have I been saved for?
I stand by my answers and this part two isn’t intended to change or add to the answers I gave back then. What I want to do today is answer a third question:
Question: Why did God save me?
Noticeably, that was the title of my first article, and I managed to answer it and not answer it. Today, I hope to actually answer the question.
Paul says that he received mercy – was saved – for this reason: so that Jesus could display his perfect patience. Stop there. Do you know what that means? That means our salvation – Paul’s, mine, yours – is a means through which God demonstrates how patient he is toward those he loves. This means two things. The obvious thing is that, as it says, Jesus has perfect patience. He is perfectly patient with everyone and their hangups. But the big gotcha here that is implied, but not said out loud, is that we are utterly wicked! It wouldn’t be much of a display of his perfect patience if we were pretty easy to get along with. Our flesh is far more imbrued with evil than we believe, and our need for his perfect patience is way deeper than we have ever realized!
Then it says that by offering us mercy, and thereby showing off his perfect patience, we become examples to those who have yet to believe in Jesus for eternal life. What that means is by saving us, as wicked as we are, he demonstrates to the unsaved that his mercy and patience will be enough for them as well. How? Only if we open our mouths and testify to our unworthiness and Christ’s love for us that while we were still sinners, he died for us anyways! (Romans 5:8)
Answer: To show the lost that his grace and mercy is greater than all of our sins.
Maybe one of the reasons you and I aren’t as quick to testify is because we don’t think we’ve been all that wicked. If you don’t think you’re all that bad, you won’t think you need all that great of a Savior. If you think you’re a pretty good person, you might turn to God for a little assist every now and then, but for the most part you think you’ve got this. My friend, you are in more danger than any drug addict, any alcoholic, any prostitute, more than anyone else because you feel like you’re in good shape and don’t really need saving; just a little help here and there.
But if you recognize your wickedness, if you are poor in spirit, if you are like the tax collector who knew how wretched he was and could only muster the strength to beat his own chest and beg for God’s mercy, you are in the best place. The person who is poor in spirit will receive the mercy of God with gladness and spend his days telling others about the mercy and perfect patience of Jesus. The one who knows how much he’s been forgiven will love Jesus extravagantly, but if you don’t know how deep your need runs, if you think you’re not that bad, then your love for Jesus will be tepid (See Luke 7:47)
Recognize that you’re not that great, and therefore you need a GREAT Savior! Then tell someone about it. That’s why you were saved – to be a walking testimony of the greatness of Jesus Christ! Proclaim it in your home, make it known in your neighborhood, talk about it in the break room, and let the Holy Spirit lead you in when and what to say. Tell everyone you know how pathetic you are and how wonderful Jesus is, and let God do the saving!