30 Jan 1 Timothy 1:12-15

12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, 13 even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; 14 and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus. 15 It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.

The powerful Spartan army in ancient Greece is renowned for its strength and bravery. One of the things about their culture that has stood through time is their athletic games. The reward for the man who won the games was to stand in front of his king in battle. Remember, that was the most dangerous place to be in battle, because the opposing army’s main goal was to kill the king of their enemy. If we are going to be in that position, we will need to possess unlimited grace. If you are a great sinner, you need great grace. Look at Paul. He was a blasphemer who persecuted Jesus. He was a violent, sadistic man who enjoyed seeing people in pain, even to death. He was a mass murderer of the people who loved Jesus. But grace took away Paul’s sin and mercy took away his guilt. There are sins people do who don’t know what they’re doing. But sin is redeemable. Therefore, we can encourage others through our story of the help and the hope that is found in Jesus.