Biblical Doctrines, Christian Living, Church, Culture & Society

GRACE, MERCY, AND PEACE

AN EXPOSITION 1 TIMOTHY 1:1-2

 

     1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Savior, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope;

Only since 1726 has the church called some of Paul’s writing’s, The Pastoral Epistles (1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus). Paul Anton is the first person to use this term as Paul instructs Timothy on how to conduct his behavior in the care, and oversight of the local church. Titus is also a pastoral epistle. 2 Timothy is more of a personal epistle. All of the epistles were expected to be read in all the churches, for the truth of God is for all believers, and not just for a select few. The epistle begins with the words, “Paul, an apostle.”

Timothy knew that Paul was an apostle, and so did the church at Ephesus. What Paul is doing by his introduction, is establishing his authority. He wants Timothy to pay close attention to what he has to say beginning with the sovereignty of God. Paul speaks of “the commandment of God.”

It is God who commands souls to be saved, and they are.

It is God who commands souls to serve, and they do.

The idea of the freedom of the will was not an issue with Paul. This is an issue with many Arminians, and with secularist, but it is not an issue to those who embrace the doctrines of grace.

God is sovereign. He controls our hearts, our minds, and our wills. With Augustine we say, “Grant what thou commandest, and then command what thou wilt” (Bishop of Hippo, 354-430). It was the will of God that Paul be an apostle, and so God commanded what He willed.

Moving from the sovereignty of God to salvation, Paul wants Timothy to know that it is God the Father who is the Author of our salvation.

It is the Lord Jesus Christ who is the believer’s hope, based on His redemptive work at Calvary.

It is the Holy Spirit who regenerates the unbeliever’s heart, thereby applying what the Father planned, and the Son has executed.

God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit is our Savior.

In none of his other epistles did Paul refer to God as “Savior”.

Perhaps he did so here because the Romans were calling other men, savior.

Scipio, a Roman general was called, “Our hope and our salvation”.

Aescapulus, the god of healing was referred to as “god of salvation, savior”.

Nero was calling himself the savior. On copper coins Nero had printed an image of himself, with the inscription “God and Savior”.

Paul reminds the Church that God is our Savior.

“F.W.  Borum in one of his books speaks of a man who was an unbeliever, whose name was Rushworth.  He had been a skeptic all his life. Finally, he resolved to read for an hour a day the book that he had so long derided. As he was reading along, he looked up, and spoke to his wife and said, ‘Wife, if this book is right, we are all wrong.’ He continued to read.  A few days later he looked at his wife and he said, ‘Wife, if this book is right, we are lost.’ And then a few days later he looked up to his wife and he said, ‘Wife, if this book is right, we may be saved.’ And he was saved by God our Savior.  So the apostle stresses that” (S. Lewis Johnson).

We are saved by God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who is our hope.

This is a great title for Christ. He is our hope. Psalms 5 say, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.”

Let the saints of God sing a song of hope.

“My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.”

Edward Mote, c. 1834

Because of Christ, the Church can have hope in difficult days. Despite wars and the rumors of war, despite economic chaos in the economies of the world, despite the threat of a nuclear holocaust by North Korea in 2019, there is hope, in Jesus Christ our Lord.

There have been other dark days in history.

Tacitus wrote of the terrible conditions of the world during his time in history, “I am entering upon the history of a period rich in disaster, doomed with wars, rent with seditions, nay savage in it’s very hours of peace.  Four emperors perished by the sword.  There were three civil wars.  There were more with foreigners and some had the character of both at once.  Rome wasted by fires, its oldest temples burned, the very capital set in flames by Roman hands, the defilement of sacred rights, adultery in high places, the sea crowded with exiles, island rocks drenched with murder.  Yet wilder was the frenzy in Rome, nobility, wealth, the refusal of office, it’s acceptance, everything was a crime and virtue was the surest way to ruin.” The Christian looks at history, past and present, and says, “The Lord Jesus Christ is my Hope.” The Christian has hope in life and hope in death.

     2 Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.

Paul addresses this epistle to a young man named Timothy, who had been converted through the preaching of the apostle. Timothy was from the city of Lystra (Acts 16:1), a providence of Asia, which is now Turkey.

Paul wanted God’s grace, mercy, and peace to be poured out upon Timothy. Here are three great words of redemption. The Christian has been given a new vocabulary. Let us learn thoroughly what these words mean. In the divine economy, grace is what God is freely able to do, and indeed what He does do for those for whom Christ has died. The popular acrostic helps to define grace as, God’s Mercy At Christs Expense.

The grace of God is amazing. “In the movie The Last Emperor, the young child anointed as the last emperor of China lives a magical life of luxury with a thousand eunuch servants at his command. “What happens when you do wrong?” his brother asks. “When I do wrong, someone else is punished,” the boy emperor replies. To demonstrate, he breaks a jar, and one of the servants is beaten.

In Christian theology, Jesus reversed that ancient pattern. When the servants erred, the King was punished. Grace is free only because the giver himself has borne the cost. (Philip Yancey in What’s So Amazing About Grace? Leadership, Vol. 19, no. 3.)

Mercy, the compassion of God, and love, the motive of God, unite, when expressed to manifest grace, which is undeserved favor.

The grace and mercy of God is manifested in the act of justification which leads to peace with God.

“Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1).

To have peace with God means that His wrath has been appeased. Enemies are reconciled. There is no more hostility. The rebellion is over.

Once a person has peace with God, they can know the peace or tranquility of soul that comes from God. To the Church in Rome, Corinth, Galatia, and Ephesus, Paul wrote about the peace that comes from God.

“To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 1:7).

“Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord    Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 1:3).

“Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ” (Gal. 1:3).

“Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 1:2).

As Paul wanted Timothy to have peace with God through regeneration, and the peace that comes from God to enjoy tranquility of soul, so Paul wanted Timothy to have the peace of God “which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phl. 4:7).

The peace of God is a supernatural peace. It is the peace that allows a person to sustain the shock of being told they have cancer, or need an operation. It is the peace that stabilizes a person facing persecution, or martyrdom.

Seek peace with God.

Welcome the peace that comes from God.

Pray for the peace of God in difficult situations so there will not be an overreaction, or loss of faith.

“Father, let our faithful mind rest, on Thee alone inclined; Every anxious thought repress, keep our souls in perfect peace” (Charles Wesley, Virtue, Vol. 20, no. 6).

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