Podcast: 25 February 2020

Hello and welcome to Tuesday’s foundations podcast.

Our reading today is 1 Timothy 1: 8-11. We’re going to focus on verse 8:  We know that the law is good if one uses it properly.


We’ve got two kids – Naomi and Isaac (excitingly number three is also on the way in the summer) and I love them very dearly but like all kids they certainly have their moments. As part of bath and bedtime routine, we try and pray together – “a good and noble thing to do” I hear you say!  We use the teaspoon model in encouraging them to pray. What we’ve found is that our kids are generally pretty good at picking up on something that they are thankful for – even if it is Postman Pat or the fact that we had sausages for tea. They seem to remember people in particular that we praying for and of course all our prayers always end by asking Jesus to help us sleep all night long (a no-brainer!). However we often find that when it comes to saying sorry for something they are a little more reticent. ‘Do you need to say sorry for anything today?’ we often ask our daughter. Her reply is often,’ No!’ And particularly when we’re tired and we’re trying to wrap things up for the day – trying to pull a sorry out for her can feel a little bit of an effort and a source of frustration to us.

As I read these words from Paul to Timothy today, I pictured those frustrating moments at bedtimes. And in part I think it’s because it’s hit on something we all know to be true – that we’re generally not very good at saying sorry. It often seems to be a battle to teach our children to say it but in part this may be due to the fact that they see the grownups struggling with it as well. How many times have I sat there in our prayer times and struggled when it comes to saying sorry? Perhaps it’s because we don’t like to dwell on the times we mess up, the times we fall short, the times a situation gets the better of us. If we’re being really honest we’d rather avoid that kind of self introspection altogether really – maybe that’s just me though!

Here’s the thing – saying sorry matters. In order to grow in our faith and to receive more of the better life Jesus has for us – our vision here at STC this year – then we need to embrace our need for a saviour. The better life we receive in Christ and in turn invite others to experience isn’t something we can just muster up ourselves, isn’t some kind of self help programme – it’s free, it’s grace, and it’s something that only God can bring us.

Why are we talking about this? Well Paul in today’s reading talks about the law. He’s talking about what we read about in the Old Testament. Moses and the Ten commandments and then beyond that further commands and instructions given to the people of Israel which helped them to understand how they were to relate to and be in the presence of the one true holy God.

Paul writes that the ‘law is good’ (verse 8). When we think of the law we often think rules and regulations and perhaps maybe the almost bizarre minutiae of it all – stuff to do with mildew and goats’ milk. We can look at it and think – this isn’t relevant to me. And yet Paul says that the law is good if it’s used properly.

And it’s good because it shows us just how much we are in need of a saviour. Just how far away we are from bridging the gap between us and God – the source of life and life in all it fullness. The Gospel means that we can’t save us. And that’s why the word sorry so often sticks on our tongue and sounds painful to our ears because, particularly in our western culture, we don’t like being told we’ve got it wrong. It’s always something else’s fault and not ours.

The thing is unless we embrace that fact that we do and will continue to mess up, that we lose our rag when trying to parent a toddler who continually tries to run away every time we take him out somewhere, or when we gesticulate at the person who cuts you up on the commute to work, or the gossip we find ourselves spreading about a person in our form – if we don’t acknowledge that we fall short of what it means to live the way God intended, then we aren’t embracing the full reality of the Gospel, which is that we are saved by grace and not by works, as Paul writes in another of his letters, so that no one can boast.

Saying sorry takes courage.

Because no one really wants to admit that we stuff up and yet…it’s in the saying sorry that we embrace God’s forgiveness. That we receive Jesus. The one who paid the cost for all our sins. The one who God has sent to fulfil the law. The one now enables us to stand and to call the holy creator of the universe, Abba, Daddy. We have that level of access because of his grace. Because he was willing to go to the cross and in a way we can never fully understand – to say sorry on our behalf.


God, thank you that we need a saviour and that such is your love that you were willing to send Jesus. Thank you that it is by grace that we have been saved and that we can know you. May we be a people who live in response to your grace. Who are quick to say sorry, to hold our hands up and acknowledge when we have got it wrong. And in those moments may we experience the freedom that your love brings us and may you equip us in turn to extend that love to those that you place around us. Amen.

BIBLE READING: 1 Timothy 1:8-11

We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral, for those practising homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers – and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.