Too Great a Sinner?

The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display His perfect patience, as an example to those who were to believe in Him for eternal life.
I TIMOTHY 1:15-16
Too Great a Sinner?
I would gladly believe if I were like St. Peter, Paul, and other who are righteous and holy, but I am   too great a sinner. Who knows whether I am elect?" Answer: Look at the words! Look at how and about whom He is speaking: "God so loved the world" and "so that all who believe in Him" [John 3:16]. Now, "the world" does not mean only St. Peter and Paul, but the entire human race together, and here no one is excluded. God's Son was given for all, all are to believe this, and all who believe will not be lost, etc.…. Therefore, beware of excluding yourself by permitting thoughts such as: "Who knows whether it has also been given to me?" That would be calling God a liar in His Word, Rather, make a cross before yourself and repeat these words: "Even if l am not St. Peter or Paul, I am still a part of the world, If He had wanted to give it only to the worthy, then He would have had to send this preaching only to the angels, who are pure and without sin. Yes, He would even have had to withhold it from St. Peter, Dsavid and Paul, for they were sinners as well as I am. No Matter who I am, I know that God’s Word is true, and if I don not accept it, then, on top of all others sins, I am also committing this one, that I regard God’s Word and truth as lies and am slandering them.”

From the Church Postil, sermon for Pentecost Monday on John 3:16-21 (Luther’s Works 77:375-76)

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