(NOTE: I will remind you again that the numbering
of the I TIMOTHY essays refers to their sequence in
the essays I will write on this book. The number after
I TIMOTHY does NOT refer to the chapter being
I TIMOTHY 2
GRACE, MERCY AND PEACE
The beauty, meaning and power in these three words demands that we take time to examine them, as they were spoken by one who spoke for God, our Savior, and Jesus Christ, our
hope. In them, the Apostle was describing the attitude of the Creator which allows weak and sinful creatures, like us, to have the possibility of walking with God, in spite of
our unworthiness and constant failures in life.
The word Grace, in the original classical Greek, meant beauty, charm or niceness. We speak of things or people as being graceful when they move with ease and beauty or do
nice things. These are gracious people.
However, in New Testament usage the word came to mean something given generously, and undeserved by the recipient. It was not earned by work, nor deserved or merited. And,
it was universal, i.e., given to all who would accept it, and put their faith in the One who gave it.
The word “Mercy” (according to William Barclay) is used in the book of Psalms one hundred and twenty seven times. It always means God coming down from Heaven to help the
helpless. We are not able to achieve the perfection necessary to enter into Heaven. Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you”. In other words He was taking His sacrifice to
the altar of God, so that our sins could be forgiven and the barrier to our entrance removed…the Heaven-sent One come down to help the helpless. When Paul used the word in
sending his blessing to Timothy, he was saying, “May God be with you and bless you”.
Paul’s major message to the Jews, when they rejected his mission to the Gentiles, was that the law could not prepare us for Heaven. No amount of obedience to the rules of
the law could make man perfect enough to dwell with the Father in Heaven. By God’s Grace, He freely extended His Mercy to give us what we could not achieve. God came down to
help the helpless, and all of us are in need of this.
Finally, Paul’s blessing was for Peace. This word was a common word of greeting among the Jews. However, it does not mean just
the opposite of war or conflict with others. It carries the meaning of the most comprehensive of mental rest and assurance. Peace of mind is the greatest kind of peace, but in
this life we are usually beset by so many kinds of conflict and competition, peer pressures and constant demands, that peace of mind is very difficult to achieve. With this word,
“Peace”, Paul is sending to Timothy a wish for him to find the only source of “Peace”. Barclay quoted this short poem, which describes the only way to find “Peace”.
“Bowed down beneath a load of sin,
By Satan sorely pressed
By war without and fears within,
I come to Thee for rest.”
By the words “Grace, Mercy and Peace” we have the picture of God’s interest and involvement in our salvation. This means our return to Him, our Creator, to share a personal
relationship with Him in the perfection of Heaven. Grace is His willingness to give us what we are unworthy of. Mercy is His willingness to do this in spite of our inability to
live up to His will. And Peace is the total assurance it gives to everyone who will accept this overwhelming gift and strive to find a personal relationship with Jesus Christ
through faith in His promises.