“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor.” – 1 Timothy 1:12-13 (NASB)
Our passage comes from the first letter to Timothy. This letter to Timothy was written after Paul was released from his first Roman imprisonment. Paul acknowledges his gratitude to Christ for: a) having imparted strength to him, b) having judged him to be trustworthy and c) having appointed him to the ministry. Paul acclaims the mercy God showed to him. For as a very great sinner Paul was not only saved, but was even considered worthy to be entrusted with the ministry of the apostleship! Before his conversion the apostle had been of the very category of terrible sinners whom he describes as unholy and profane persons (1 Timothy 1:9-10). Yes, the apostle had been a blasphemer (Acts 26:11), ridiculing the name of Christ; he had been a persecutor for his very breath had been a threat of murder (Acts 9:1) making him nothing less than “a wanton and violent aggressor,” who committed horror and outrage against those who were of “The Way.” Our promise is that God saves the worst of sinners who in faith believe and all are equally in need of salvation. It is by the mercy of God that we receive the faith to believe and receive eternal life.