CCXXXVI. The Faithful Saying.

1 TIM. i. 15.
“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”

WE have given us here the reason of Christ’s first coming.
The reason of St. Paul prefacing these words by the state-
ment that it is “a faithful saying, and worthy of all accep-
tation,” is that the words following are not the apostle’s
own. He is quoting a saying current in the Church. We
do not know who composed it. Like many of the most
beautiful things in this world, it is the work of an unknown
soul.
I. The saying is important because it is clearly made up
of the words of our Lord.
The Christian maxim only put Christ’s own words into
another and more compendious form.
II. It is important as throwing light on God’s character.
The temptation to cherish hard thoughts of God is very
old, and also very modern. “I knew Thee, that Thou art
an austere man”—this is the language which millions
of hearts have secretly held in converse with the loving
Creator. Physical evil is the child of moral evil, and less
serious than moral evil. God seeing moral evil on the face
of His works, determined that His own arm should bring
the cure, and “He gave His only begotten Son.” The
frowns of nature and the ills of life go for little against the
unspeakable tenderness of redeeming grace.
III. The saying is important because it reminds us of
the greatness of the work of Christ. He came to save
sinners. The salvation of man is a different thing from
an improved condition of society. The highest enlighten-
ment may consist with entire spiritual ruin. Man has
rebelled against the Author of his being, His will is per-
verted. The will is the imperial faculty by which all else
is guided, and when the will has made a complete act of
adhesion to Jesus the man is saved. Our Lord came to
save men by giving to the human will,
1. Freedom.
2. New and true direction.
3. Strength.
IV. It is important because of its interest for every
individual. We differ from each other in all besides this,
that alike we are all sinners. And we have a Saviour pro-
vided. “Christ Jesus came to save sinners.” The text
brings us an offer of God’s grace and love, and we do well
to accept it.
Henry Parry Liddon, D.C.L.

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