The longer that Saul of Tarsus walked with Christ, the more aware of his sinfulness he became.
Before encountering Christ, he considered himself blameless (Philippians 3:6). Years later, he’d describe himself as “the least of the apostles” (1 Corinthians 15:9). Some years after that, he’d call himself “the least of all the saints” (Ephesians 3:8) and “the worst of sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15). Each time, the circle grew wider: apostles, saints, sinners.
Even allowing for Eastern humility and exaggeration, I think Paul did have a point to get across: the more he saw of his Saviour, the more he saw why he needed salvation.
What I find instructive is that the increased awareness of his sinful state didn’t leave him grovelling in the ash-heap. Instead, he breaks out in praise to the One who showed such incomparable patience and mercy to him (1 Timothy 1:16-17).
Now that’s a lesson I’m yet to learn…
The Lord moves in mysterious ways… Here’s a post that’s been sitting in my feed reader that’s about awareness of our sin and expressing gratefulness to God. It’s got a video and a link to another blog post on the same topic.