And I thank him who enabled me, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he counted me faithful, appointing me to service; although I was before a blasphemer, a persecutor, and insolent. However, I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. The grace of our Lord abounded exceedingly with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. The saying is faithful and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. However, for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first, Jesus Christ might display all his patience, for an example of those who were going to believe in him for eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.(1 Timothy 1:12-17, emphasis added)
Mr. Sprenger asks, “If the prerequisite for mercy is ignorance and unbelief, then who will fail to qualify?” All created beings require God’s mercy. All people are at first ignorant of God’s grace and only exposed to His mercy in stages of their lives. All people have to be shown what their faith is; that it is a gift from God. Mr. Sprenger’s question is poignant. “…Who will fail to qualify” for God’s mercy especially if Paul is our example?
Paul declares in Holy Scripture that he is the “foremost” of all sinners. It stands to reason that God saves the most wretched man. There are none worse than the most wretched of all men. Mr. Sprenger asks, “Again, if Paul is the foremost sinner, then hasn’t God’s plan of redemption been accomplished to the foremost?”
Christ said from the cross, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” Later as He took His final breath He said, “It is finished.” Christ is asking the Lord to forgive the very persons who hate Him. He is asking the Father to overlook and to forgive their complicity in His crucifixion. Will His Father not do what His Son asks? “It is finished.” Universal reconciliation embraces these verses as literally true. Other doctrines preach there are some who are worse than the most wretched man and reap an eternal torment for their rebellion.
These verses preach “God is love.” His mercy extends to the most wretched of men. This is Impartial Grace.