In a letter to his spiritual son, Timothy, Paul wrote, some 1900 years ago, about his conversion:
“[I] was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious, but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. AND THE GRACE OF OUR LORD WAS EXCEEDING ABUNDANT…” (I Tim. 1:13,14).
And he follows this with the now-famous declaration:
“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief” (I Tim. 1:15).
Upon reading this statement by Paul, those who know their Bibles will immediately recall the words of Rom. 5:20,21:
“…the law entered, that the offence might abound, BUT WHERE SIN ABOUNDED, GRACE DID MUCH MORE ABOUND; THAT AS SIN HATH REIGNED… SO MIGHT GRACE REIGN…”
These two passages from the pen of Paul have a closer connection than may appear on the surface. The Apostle Paul, once Saul of Tarsus, had led his nation and the world in rebellion against Christ. “As for Saul,” we read in Acts 8:3, “he made havoc of the church,” and he himself testified to the Galatians: “Ye have heard… how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and laid it waste” (Gal. 1:13).
Yet God, in infinite mercy, had saved Saul, not only for Saul’s own sake, but to make him the living demonstration of His grace. Thus in writing to Timothy, the Apostle goes on to explain:
“Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting” (I Tim. 1:16).
Let us, then, take our places with Saul, the sinner, and find salvation by grace through Christ, the Savior. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). source