Approaching adulthood I discovered that I was more sinful than I had previously thought and had a devious, legalistic mind looking for sneaky ways to be self-righteous and filthy at the same time. I felt vulnerable to the world and vulnerable to God.  I wondered if I would ever be good enough. When I was a child, I thought like a child.

Fortunately I had the Scriptures to lead me through my religious darkness. Reading the Apostle Paul’s sin struggle in his letter to the Romans helped immensely. I came to believe that Jesus sacrifice was thorough enough to include my list of betrayals, ugly behaviours and cold-hearted attitudes.

Slowly the gospel penetrated my heart and gave me a new view of humanity and the secure identity I could have with Jesus. God gave me a better set of lenses to view the world with. I realized that I had tremendous potential to do good things and an unlimited possibility of violating what I knew to be wrong.

In his characteristic, transparent confessional style, he told his young protégé Timothy how severely he judged himself in light of God’s goodness.

1 Timothy 1:
15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. 

You may feel that you hold the title for the worst sinner ever. But, you also need to hear what Paul is saying about that self-evaluation. Because of how bad he was, Jesus had the opportunity to show just how patience God is. By loving a self-righteous persecutor like Saul of Tarsus, others would realize that God could also be patient and forgiving to them, also.

Eternal life is a not a reward for good people, but a gift for the worst sort of person who cries to God for help. In your struggle with sin, it will be God’s kindness that ultimately affects you; kindness will lead you to change your mind.