From his morning study time, Pastor/Teacher, David Niednagel, Evansville, IN. David uses the S.O.A.P. method for his morning study (study, observe, apply, pray).
1 Timothy 1:1-2
1:1 This letter is from Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus, appointed by the command of God our Savior and Christ Jesus, who gives us hope. 2 I am writing to Timothy, my true son in the faith. May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord give you grace, mercy, and peace. NLT
PTL that God can and would change a violent blasphemer into His messenger (apostle). Nobody is too hard for the grace of God. But even with that grace, God also gave him a command. Even though we normally think of grace (love) and commands as opposite kinds of motivation, grace and commands are not incompatible. God still has expectations, and does not just wait for us to decide to do them. Commands express His mind and will, and then we respond because of His grace. “Your wish is my command.”
The NLT says the Lord Jesus gives us hope. That is true, but Paul makes it a bit clearer, that He not only gives us hope, but that He is our Hope. 1 Pet 1:4 says He is our “living hope”. In the NT, “hope” refers to our confidence that because He was raised from the dead, He will come again and raise us also. (Titus 2:13) No matter how much Paul suffered, He knew the Living Christ was living in him. That gave him the confidence and endurance for everything.
Another evidence of God’s grace in Paul is the fact that he calls Timothy his “true son in the faith”. I don’t think Saul of Tarsus would have chosen to pour his life into this half Gentile boy who was not from a line of distinguished Rabbis. God’s grace changed Saul’s values, who wanted to advance beyond all his contemporaries (Gal 1:14) to Paul’s who wanted to become a servant. (Phil 2)
Paul also displays an understanding of Timothy’s personality and nature, as well as the situation he was in. Timothy had a tough assignment, and Paul was praying for him, not for strength and success, but for more grace, mercy and peace.
Lord Jesus, thank You for loving hardened, arrogant people like Saul, and transforming him to a man with a heart like Yours. Please keep doing that in me, so that my values and passion are to be like You. Give me delight in obeying Your commands, and give me confidence that You are living within me at all times. Give me fulfillment in ministering to a few, instead of longing for a large public ministry. And help me remember You value a servant’s heart more than a person’s strength. So help me remember what people need most and pray for a fresh measure of grace, mercy and peace when they are in times of difficulty. Amen