17 Oct. 1 Timothy 1:12-20

17 Oct. God's grace enables us to live and love like Jesus.

"I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who gave me strength, because he trusted me and gave me this work of serving him."

"In the past I spoke against Christ and persecuted him and did all kinds of things to hurt him. But God showed me mercy, because I did not know what I was doing. I did not believe."

"But the grace of our Lord was fully given to me, and with that grace came the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus."

"What I say is true, and you should fully accept it: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the worst. But I was given mercy so that in me, the worst of all sinners, Christ Jesus could show that he has patience without limit."

"His patience with me made me an example for those who would believe in him and have life for ever. To the king that rules for ever, who will never die, who cannot be seen, the only God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen."

"Timothy, my child, I am giving you a command that agrees with the prophesies that were given about you in the past. I tell you this so you can follow them and fight the good fight. Continue to have faith and do what you know is right."

"Some people have rejected this, and their faith has been shipwrecked. Hymenaeus and Alexander have done that, and I have given them to Satan so they will learn not to speak against God."

          (1 Timothy 1:12-20)



Paul thanks God that, through God’s grace - God's undeserved love - he has been appointed to serve Jesus Christ, even though, in the past, he insulted and persecuted him. “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the worst” (1 Timothy 1:15).

He encourages Timothy to keep his faith strong in order to fulfil the words of prophesy from God spoken about him in the past. We're not told when these prophetic words were received, or by whom, but as Timothy's mother was "Jewish and a believer" (Acts 16:1), it's quite possible that she received a word from God shortly before his birth (like Mary, the mother of Jesus, in Luke 1:30-33).

Paul warns Timothy not to be deceived by false teachings – like Hymenaeus and Alexander have been. Paul says he has "given them to Satan so they will learn not to speak against God." (1 Timothy 1:20).

This might sound strange to us today, as many Christians view the Satan as the "fallen angel" of John's vision written down in c.90AD (in Revelation 20:1-3) rather than follow the Old Testament belief in the satan ('the accuser') as God's appointed prosecutor in the heavenly court (see Job 1:6-12 & Zechariah 3:1-10) which would have been the prominent belief when Paul wrote to Timothy between 63 and 66AD.

The photo shows the stone baptismal font at the 4th century church of Hagia Maria (St Mary's church) in Ephesus, from where Paul wrote to Timothy. It suggests, interestingly, that children of Christian parents were baptised as Christians by dipping in water when infants (perhaps in response to prophetic words from God) as early as the 4th century.

You can read more from Paul's First Letter to Timothy @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/pauls-1st-letter-to-timo…/

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