January 25—Morning Devotion
“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”—1 Timothy 1:15
Hearken, my soul, to the proclamation from heaven! Is this the faithful saying of a faithful God? Surely, then, thou mayest well regard it, for it is for thy life. And if it be worthy of all acceptation, it must be eminently so of thine; for thou hast been a transgressor from the womb. But did Jesus indeed come to save sinners? Yes, so the proclamation runs. Sinners, enemies to God. Jesus, it is said, “received gifts for the rebellious, that the Lord God might dwell among them;” and with that tenderness which distinguished his character, he said himself, that he “came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Well, then, my soul, up on this warrant of the faithful word of a faithful God, wilt thou not so fully rely as to believe unto salvation? If any inquiries arise contrary to this belief, let this be thine answer: – Christ came to save sinners; that is enough for me; for I am one. God’s salvation is said to be for enemies; that is my name by nature. Jesus received gifts for the rebellious; to this character I plead also guilty. If men or devils would endeavour to work unbelief in my heart, this is my answer: – Christ came to save sinners.” Let those that never felt sin, and consequently know not the need of a Saviour, stay and argue the point as they may; my souls eternal welfare is concerned, and I will not lose a moment to close with the heavenly proposal. Lord Jesus, thou waitest to be gracious! The faithful saying of my God I accept on my bended knees. It is indeed worthy of all acceptation, and above all, of mine. Here while upon earth will I proclaim thy praise; and in heaven, the loudest of all voices must be mine, that Christ came to save Sinners, of whom I am chief.”
Robert Hawker (1753-1827) was an Anglican (High-Calvinist) preacher who served as Vicar of Charles Church, Plymouth. John Hazelton wrote of him:
“The prominent features…in Robert Hawker's testimony…was the Person of Christ….Dr. Hawker delighted to speak of his Lord as "My most glorious Christ.” What anxious heart but finds at times in the perusal of the doctor's writings a measure of relief, a softening, and a mellowing? an almost imperceptible yet secret and constraining power in leading out of self and off from the misery and bondage of the flesh into a contemplation of the Person and preciousness of Christ as "the chiefest among ten thousand and the altogether lovely." Christ and Him crucified was emphatically the burden of his song and the keynote of his ministry. He preached his last sermon in Charles Church on March 18th, 1827, and on April 6th he died, after being six years curate and forty-three years vicar of the parish. On the last day of his life he repeated a part of Ephesians 1, from the 6th to the 12th verses, and as he proceeded he enlarged on the verses, but dwelt more fully on these words: "To the praise of His glory Who first trusted in Christ." He paused and asked, "Who first trusted in Christ?" And then made this answer: "It was God the Father Who first trusted in Christ."