Jonathan Edwards was a philosopher, theologian, pastor, and president of Princeton University. Although he became a prominent leader of the First Great Awakening when thousands surrendered their lives to Christ, Edwards never sought the pulpit. One interesting fact: his original passion was studying insects! As a young man, Edwards struggled with the idea of a supreme and sovereign God. It was not until his conversion in 1721, after reading 1 Timothy 1:17, that He came face to face with who God is.
In verses 12–16, the Apostle Paul explains the grace he received from God. He recollects his past as a “blasphemer,” “persecutor,” and “violent man” (v. 13). Paul calls himself the “worst of sinners” (v. 16). Throughout his life Paul never forgot his old ways. Instead, he contrasted them with the mercy and grace God had shown him. Remembering his sins enabled Paul to glorify God even more. Instead of hiding his former life, he thanked Jesus for redeeming him from it (vv. 14–16).
After recounting what the Lord had done for him, Paul couldn’t contain himself. His feelings seem to burst onto the page as He declares God’s majesty in verse 17. God is the eternal, immortal, and invisible King (v. 17). We owe Him our deepest reverence and allegiance. When Edwards read verse 17, he too felt a sense of wonder of who he was in light of what God had done. Edwards described that moment as “a sense of the glory of the Divine Being; a new sense, quite different from any thing I ever experienced before . . . I thought with myself, how excellent a Being that was, and how happy I should be, if I might enjoy that God, and be rapt up to him in heaven.”
>> When you share your life’s story, give glory and honor to God! Whether your past is as turbulent as Paul’s or more peaceful, your conversion through Christ is still miraculous. Jesus Christ died and rose from the grave for you!
Together with the Apostle Paul, we thank Christ for His mercy and grace to us. Thank you, Lord, for saving us, each one—“the worst of sinners.” We pray for boldness in sharing our story as a testimony of your love and power.