“I am the very least of all the saints.” ~Eph 3:8
“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” ~1 Timothy 1:15
Paul said these things. As in, the Apostle Paul, perhaps the greatest, most important Christian in world history. Folks, if he is the least of all saints, then we are in serious trouble! He planted churches; we are doing well to make it to church consistently. He wrote books of the Bible. Half of us gave up on our plan to read the Bible in a year plan last month (in Leviticus). We hear that Paul calls himself the least of all saints and think, “Paul just hasn’t met me yet.”
I’m not a very good Christian. Ever said that about yourself, or at least felt that way? Maybe that is true. Are you:
- weak in faith, constantly struggling to trust God?
- feeling disinterested in God?
- possessing little knowledge of God or his Word?
- easily tempted and weighed down with sins?
- experiencing little real sense of being like Christ?
- struggling to obey Christ?
- having little love for or connection with other Christians?
- making little use of your spiritual gifts to serve the body of Christ?
- fascinated by the things of the world?
First off, if this sounds like you and it doesn’t concern you, but you consider yourself a Christian, I would urge you to do some heart searching. Paul tells us to “Examine ourselves to see whether we are in the faith” (2 Cor 13:5). If the list above describes you and you could not care less, you are most likely not a believer in Christ at all. In which case, I urge you to repent and believe today. Until then, nothing that follows applies to you.
If the list above sounds like you and it hurts, then you may be a genuine believer in Christ. It may be that you are simply immature in your faith or in a season of particular weakness. If this is the case, then I want to offer you some encouragement. Not by building up your flesh, telling you how awesome you are and how you should love yourself more. Rather, I want to share with you what the Bible says is true about every believer in Christ. This is not meant to encourage you to remain in a place of weakness, but to stir up your faithfulness, love, and worship of God.
These thirteen points are true for even the weakest Christian.
God has chosen you from eternity (Eph 1:3-6, 11-12; 1 Pt. 2:9; Jn 6:37, 17:2). Before you were born or had done anything good or bad, anything worthy of merit or condemnation, God chose you. If you are in Christ, it is because God in his great love and mercy, according to his own will and counsel, chose to set his love upon you and make you an object of his saving grace. Even the least saint has that great honor of God’s gracious election. Yet not even the greatest saint can boast that he did anything to merit it.
The LORD is your God (Jer 31:33; Heb 8:10; Jn 17:3). You are in a covenant relationship with the true and living God. You have the privilege and joy of knowing him. He is your God and you are part of his people.
All the promises are yours in Christ (2 Cor 1:20; 2 Pt 1:4). Even the least saint enjoys the full benefits of the promises of God. All the promises of God are fulfilled in Christ, and if you are in Christ, then the promises are yours. Great, precious promises.
Jesus has atoned for all your sins (Jn 10:11; Eph 2:4-10; 1 Jn 4:10). Your sins are fully covered by the blood of Jesus. There is no hostility or condemnation between you and God due to your sins, because Christ paid the penalty in full. You are justified in God’s sight.
You are a saint (Rom 1:7; Eph 3:8; Ps 16:3). Even the least of all saints is still a saint. Sainthood is not a benchmark of excellent behavior, but a gift from your Savior. You are holy and beloved in God’s sight.
You are a child of God (1 Jn 3:1-3; Rom 8:14; 2 Cor 6:18; Gal 4:4-7). Only those who believe in the Son of God belong as sons of God. Those who do not have the Son do not have the Father, but even the least of saints has both the Father and the Son!
Jesus is praying for you (John 17; Heb 7:25). Jesus is your High Priest and will be forever. Those you are weak in prayer, your High Priest is strong. Even now, he is praying for you from Heaven.
God hears your prayers (1 Pt 3:12; Prv 28:9; Jn 9:31). God does not promise to hear or answer the prayers of sinners. But he hears the prayers of all his saints.
The Holy Spirit lives within you as the temple of God (Jn 14:16-17; 1 Cor 3:16; 6:19-20). God has given you his Holy Spirit. God dwells within you, fills you, sanctifies you, strengthens you, directs you, makes you fit for heaven and firm in faith. Even immature Christians are temples of the living God.
You are an essential part of his church (1 Cor 12:12-27; Ro 12:3-8). That same Spirit who dwells within every believer gives spiritual gifts to each that they may use them to build up the church. Even the least saint is important to the church of God and is necessary in the local church.
God works all things for your good (Rom 8:28). Not a single affliction falls your way that is not intended for some good.
No one and nothing can separate you from God’s love. He has withheld not even his own Son for your salvation. Can his love for you be in doubt? Can his love be cancelled or reevaluated or lessened? Never. God loves the least saint greater than a whole world of sinners. What can separate us from the Father’s love? Nothing. Hallelujah!
You have an imperishable inheritance (John 14:1-3, 18; 1 Pt 1:3-4). Jesus is preparing a place for you. Jesus desires to make his forever home with his people, even the not-very-mature Christians.
As a final point, consider the thief who was crucified beside Jesus. What did he do to glorify God in his whole miserable, sin-filled life, apart from believing in Christ in his final hour? Not a thing. He never had the chance to be a mature disciple, to be baptized, to enjoy the Lord’s Supper and communion with other Christians. He never went on mission trips or served in ministry. But he believed in Christ and it was credited to him as righteousness. And by his faith, he too proved to be a saint, chosen by grace, beloved from all eternity, a forgiven and adopted son promised an eternal home in heaven. Can you, immature Christian, be any less? Grace, grace, marvelous grace!