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That in Me First Jesus Christ Might Show All Longsuffering

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  • Theology Club: That in Me First Jesus Christ Might Show All Longsuffering

    On another thread JudgeRightly asked:

    Originally posted by JudgeRightly View Post
    Why does Paul say "in me first" in 1 Timothy 1:16, if he was not the first one in the "Body of Christ"?

    However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life. - 1 Timothy 1:16
    Here is the answer provided by Ricky Kurth of the Berean Bible Society, who also believes that Paul was the first person in the Body of Christ:
    Before he was saved, Paul was a pretty moral man (Phil.3:6) so why would he call himself “the chief of sinners” (v.15)? He certainly felt like the worst sinner (ICor.15:9 cf. Eph.3:8), but even when he was killing God’s people he was doing it “ignorantly” (v.13). No, the word “chief” means most prominent, as when the Bible speaks of “chief priests” and “chief rulers” and “chief singers.” The word also has the idea of leadership. The chief man on the island where Paul was shipwrecked (Acts 28:7) was probably the leader of those natives, and Satan was certainly the leader of all devils (Lu.11:15). Thus as the leader of the world’s rebellion against God, Saul was certainly the most prominent sinner.

    So why’d God save him? To show His longsuffering in him (v.16). Notice he didn’t say he “was” the chief of sinners, he was still the most prominent sinner in the world, albeit now saved by grace. But as the most prominent sinner saved by grace he was an example of God’s longsuffering.

    But if Saul began persecuting in Acts 7 and got saved shortly after in Acts 9, how did he show God’s longsuffering? Ah, God showed His longsuffering with mankind in saving Saul. He showed some longsuffering in Noah’s day (IPe.3:20) when he spared Noah and raised up the Gentile nations from his sons. Then when they rebelled at Babel He showed longsuffering to His favored nation 1500 more years. When they crucified His Son and stoned His prophet, God was supposed to give us the worst judgment ever (Mt.24:21) but showed “all longsuffering” instead.

    God showed this longsuffering “for a pattern” to those who would believe on Him after Saul (Tit.3:3,4). But Paul is more than our pattern in salvation. There is a pattern of three more “faithful saying”s that show the fullness of how Paul is our pattern. He is our pattern in being godly (ITim. 4:8,9) because we are saved, not in order to get saved, as the pattern God gave thru Moses in the Law. He is our pattern in suffering for Christ and reigning with Him (IITim.2:11,12) and maintaining good works (Tit.3:8). How well should we maintain good works? Paul is our pattern, but he’s not here, so we should be a pattern (Ti.2:7)

    Ricky Kurth said nothing about Paul being the first member of the Body of Christ. In fact, he said that Paul was saved to show the Lord's longsuffering.

    In other words, the Lord Jesus picked Paul first in order to demonstate his longsuffering to mankind because that proves that if Paul could be saved at that time then the Lord's longsuffering excludes no one.

    I am still waiting for any evidence from the Scriptures which prove that Paul was the first member of the Body of Christ.
    Last edited by Jerry Shugart; September 27, 2018, 11:57 AM.