And the grace of our Lord overflowed to me, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
I. THE MERCY OF THE LORD OVERFLOWED IN GRACE ON GOD'S SIDE. "But the grace of our Lord super-abounded." His salvation was of free grace. He had done nothing to deserve it, but rather everything to forfeit his claim upon it. It was grace first that made him a Christian, and then made him an apostle.
II. THE MERCY OF THE LORD OVERFLOWED IN FAITH AND LOVE ON MAN'S SIDE. "With faith and love that are in Christ Jesus."
1. These two graces are the fruits of grace. When grace abounds, they will necessarily abound.
2. Faith stands in opposition to his old unbelief. It is that grace which receives every blessing from Christ, and gives him all the glory, bringing peace, joy, and comfort into the heart, and ending in eternal life.
3. Love stands in opposition to his former rage and cruelty. He now has love to God and man.
4. His faith and love find their true spring in Jesus Christ, as in him all fullness dwells. - T.C.
And the grace of our Lord.I. Consider THE GRACE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. It was this that led Him to remember you in your low estate; to interpose on your behalf; to assume your nature, and to give His life a ransom for many. "Surely He hath borne our grief and carried our sorrow." "Behold, how He loved him!" said the spectators around the grave of Lazarus, when they saw only His tears. Behold, how He loved them! was surely the exclamation of angels, when, at His cross, they beheld His blood. For was He compelled to submit to this undertaking? No. Did we deserve it? "When we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly." In the application, as well as the procuring of our salvation, the grace of the Lord Jesus appears. Means were used; but they derived all their efficacy, and their very being, from Him. But whence sprang this desire? From conviction. What produced this conviction? Reflection. And what produced this reflection? A train of events. And what are events? Providence. And what is Providence? God in action; and God, acting for the welfare of the unworthy, is grace. The progress is equally from the same source. He who quickens us, when dead in trespasses and sins, renews us day by day; and enables us to hold on our way, and wax stronger and stronger. As this laid the foundation, so it will raise the superstructure; and He shall bring forth the top-stone thereof, with shoutings, crying, "Grace, grace unto it!" But, though all are saved by this grace, some individuals seem to be, in a peculiar manner, the trophies of it; and, were it necessary, we could make, even from the records of Scripture, a marvellous selection of instances. Manasseh; the dying thief; the murderers of the Son of God; the Corinthian converts.
II. THIS GRACE IS EMINENTLY DISPLAYED IN THE CONVERSION OF PAUL: "And the grace of our Lord," says he, "was exceeding abundant." Never did His heart pity a more undeserving wretch, or His hand undertake a more desperate case. Perhaps, you say, this made the apostle so humble. It did. But humility is not ignorance and folly. Christians are often ridiculed for speaking of themselves in depreciating terms: especially when they call themselves the vilest of the vile, or the chief of sinners. It is admitted and lamented that such language may be insufferable affectation, and is sometimes used by persons who give ample evidence of their not believing it. When show is a substitute for reality, it is generally excessive.
III. THIS GRACE IS ALWAYS PRODUCTIVE OF SUITABLE INFLUENCES AND EFFECTS. "In faith and love," says the apostle, "which are in Christ Jesus."
1. Divine grace produces faith. Faith is the belief of the gospel; a firm and lively persuasion of the truth of the record that God has given of His Son, accompanied with acquiescence, dependence, and application. It will lead me to have recourse to Him for all I want.
2. Divine grace will equally produce love. To whom? To the Saviour Himself; His name, His word, His day, His service, His ways.
3. Divine grace will produce both these in the same subjects. Faith, according to the apostle's order of statement, goes before love'; for faith precedes everything in religion — it is an original principle; it is the spring from which flow all the streams of pious temper and practice; it is the root from which grow all the fruits of Christian obedience and affection. But love follows after faith. We are told that "faith worketh by love." And how should it be otherwise? Is it possible for me to believe the compassions of the Saviour, and to realize as my own the blessings of His death, and not feel my heart affected? and my gratitude constraining me to embrace Him, and my fellow-Christians, and my fellow-creatures, for His sake? By the latter of these, therefore, you are to evince the reality and genuineness of the former. The subject admonishes Christians. It calls upon you, like Paul, to review the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Remember where you were, and what you were, when He said unto you, "Live!" Look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged. This will prove the destruction of pride and ingratitude.
I. THE GRACE OF GOD AS THE ONLY SOURCE OF HOPE AND SALVATION TO GUILTY AND APOSTATE MAN.
1. The very terms of this proposition suppose that man is in a guilty and apostate state. The effectuation of that great scheme into which the angels desired to look, the contrivance of infinite mercy, is of grace: "Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, though He was rich, yet for our sakes became poor, that we through His poverty might become rich." The application of the Divine contrivance for man's recovery is of grace. The Holy Spirit, the third person in the glorious Trinity, stands engaged in the economy and covenant of mercy, to "take of the things of Christ, and show them unto us." The completion of this great and glorious work is of grace. Were we to trace the whole process from the commencement to the perfection of it, it would be seen that in every step the grace of God is manifested to be "exceeding abundant." Now, do consider that this is the only source of hope and salvation for guilty man. Tell me of any other if you are able. Will you talk to me of penances, and pilgrimages, and bodily austerities?
II. IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES ATTENDANT UPON THE CONVERSION AND SALVATION OF THE APOSTLE PAUL, THIS GRACE WAS "EXCEEDING ABUNDANT."
1. This will appear, in the first place, if you consider his previous character. He was, before, an impious blasphemer, a treacherous persecutor, an injurious reviler. What does this prove? That where a man is not chargeable with gross immoralities, yet the sins of the mind, the intellect, the temper and disposition of the heart, may stand out in the sight of God in the most odious, the most culpable, and in the most guilty form.
2. In the second place, the grace of God was exceeding abundant towards this apostle, if you consider the period of time at which he thus became the subject of renewing and converting mercy. It was at the very moment when, with impetuous fury, he was proceeding to Damascus under the authority of the high priest to make havoc of the Church of God.
3. In the third place, the exceeding abundant grace of God was conspicuously manifest in the completeness of the change which was produced on his condition and character. It was a very remarkable change, because Paul the disciple presents a contrast so direct, so strong, and so striking, to Saul of Tarsus. Once more, the grace of God was exceeding abundant toward him if you consider the subsequent employment to which he was appointed, the eminent qualifications with which he was endowed, and the great success which attended him in his apostolic career.
III. THE CHARACTER TO WHICH THE GRACE OF GOD WILL ALWAYS FORM THOSE WHO ARE THE SUBJECTS OF IT. "With faith and love which is in Christ Jesus." The two grand characteristics of the apostle antecedently to his conversion, were his unbelief and his malignity. Now the character to which he was wrought by the operation of Divine grace on his heart, exhibits an entire contrast to these two characteristic qualities; for you find in him faith taking the place of unbelief, and love taking the place of malevolence; he becomes an entirely changed man, the principles of his whole conduct are completely altered. In closing this subject —
1. It offers hope to the most hopeless; I say hope to the most hopeless, because we have discovered that the grace of God is the spring and the source of man's salvation.
2. Let us examine, pointedly and "seriously, whether we know anything of the grace of God which we have seen exemplified in so remarkable and transcendent a degree in the conversion of the apostle Paul. Has this grace reached your heart?
3. What gratitude do we owe for the manifestation of this grace, for the revelation of it to our sinful world? If the sun could be extinguished and blotted out from yonder heavens, it would be a less calamity inflicted on the natural world than if the doctrines of grace were banished from the Christian system. Let us close, therefore, by considering the animating and exhilarating prospect which the grace of God opens beyond the grave.
I. CONSIDER, IN THE FIRST PLACE, THE GRACE OF OUR LORD, WHICH WAS "EXCEEDING ABUNDANT." If there was one theme on which Paul dwelt oftener, and lingered longer than others, it was this theme of Divine grace. He took pleasure in giving it prominence, and securing for it attention. It was with him a great central truth, from which other truths radiated, and towards which they again converged. It was a seminal truth, a seed out of which other truths sprang and grew. It was a foundation truth, on which he continued to build a structure of strength and holiness and beauty. In this respect, all saints are very much alike. "By grace are ye saved." Grace is one form of Divine love. I say one form, because there are others. God loves Himself. He loves His perfect works — the high intelligencies that surround His throne. But this is a love of complacency. Grace is pity — it is love unconstrained by any governmental necessities — unmerited by any moral qualifications. It is worthy of notice that Paul characterizes the grace of God to himself as "exceeding abundant." He adds one term to another for the purpose of expressing his sense of its freeness and fulness. This is a proper way of speaking. Nothing but grace, nothing but "exceeding abundant" grace, could have moved God to give His only begotten Son for the forgiveness of sins; nothing less than grace, "exceeding abundant" grace, could have converted and saved Isaac the son of faithful Abraham, and Samuel, for whom the devout Hannah prayed, and Solomon, brought up in the house of the man after God's own heart, and Timothy, who had known the Scriptures from a child. However great our religious advantages, or excellent our character, or refined and elevated our tastes, the heart by nature is corrupt, and the life is bad, and nothing short of "exceeding abundant" grace can purify the former and rectify the latter. After all it comes to this, that every Christian finds in his own conversion the most illustrious manifestation of the grace of God. There is another peculiarity in Paul's language which we must not overlook. He speaks of the grace shown in his salvation as "the grace of our Lord." By our Lord he evidently means the Lord Jesus Christ. Elsewhere he attributes his salvation to the Father; he recognizes, also, the sovereign agency of the Holy Spirit; here he refers, in an especial manner, as in other places, to our Lord Jesus Christ. He calls himself "Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ;" he says, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me." It was Christ who sent him to preach the gospel; and when in prison he was "the prisoner of Jesus Christ"; he could do all things through Christ, who strengthened him; he could say, with truth, "I count all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ." "For me to live is Christ." What a comment all this is on his saying to the Corinthians, "For I am determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified." The grace of our Lord, towards us and in us, has been "exceeding abundant."
II. Now, let us consider THE FRUITS OF GRACE, of which Paul speaks — "Faith and love which is in Christ Jesus." These two elements of Christian character are put, if you will look at the chapter, in opposition to the apostle's previous character. Speaking of himself, in the preceding verse, he says, "I, who was before a blasphemer, a persecutor, and injurious, did it ignorantly in unbelief," but now, instead of unbelief and blasphemy there is simple, yet strong faith, and instead of persecution and injury, there is ardent, self-denying love. Look at the reality and strength of the faith! It overturned all the prejudices of the mind fortified by parental example and early education. It made him bold as a lion in the advocacy of the Redeemer's cause, before the philosophers and monarchs of the age. How ardent and consuming was this man's love. His love to Christ led him to renounce friends and fame; it burned out the old enmity of his heart against Jesus, and filled him with a consuming zeal. It prompted him to undertake the most arduous labours, it enabled him to endure hardships by sea and land, and to brave persecution by his countrymen. It was the great secret of his life and labours. "What mean ye to weep and to break my heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus." And to this supreme love to Jesus Christ, there was united a warm affection for His followers, a tender compassion for all mankind. He loved and enkindled love. Such were the fruits of a Divine grace in the apostle Paul, and just in proportion as that grace is in our hearts, will these fruits appear in us. Like causes produce like effects. Let us try ourselves to see whether or not we are partakers of the grace of God in truth. Observe, for a moment, the order in which the apostle places these Christian virtues — faith and love. Faith first, love second. We find this order in other parts of his writings; they are not by chance here — "Faith which worketh by love." "Let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love." You see how natural this order is. The sinner has, first, a believing apprehension of Christ. There can be no real love to Christ, or love to men for His sake, without faith in Him. You may admire His character, but you cannot feel that personal obligation and attachment which He demands. Burke could appreciate to some extent the philanthropic career of Howard; Pollock and Cowper could sing his praises; but how vastly different from their emotions towards the great philanthropist, was the love cherished by the prisoners whose lot he alleviated, and the distressed whose sorrows he removed. Remember this also — If you profess faith, you will show it by love. "Faith which worketh by love." If you desire to know whether you believe in Christ, ascertain this by asking whether you love Christ. Paul mentions only faith and love as the fruits of Divine grace in Him. Not that these were the only fruits produced, but because these are the chief, and where these are found all the others will surely be found with them. The Christian virtues hang together like grapes in clusters. Where you find faith and love you will find also obedience, patience, purity, meekness, and everything that is excellent and of good report. (W. Walters.)
PeopleAlexander, Hymenaeus, Paul, Sodomites, Timotheus, Timothy
TopicsAbound, Abounded, Abundant, Abundantly, Along, Christ, Conferring, Exceeding, Exceedingly, Faith, Fulness, Grace, Love, Over-abounded, Overflowed, Overflowing, Poured, Surpassingly
Outline1. Paul declares Timothy is faithful to the charge which was given him at his going to Macedonia.
5. The right use and end of the law.
11. Paul's calling to be an apostle;
20. and the disobedience or Hymenaeus and Alexander.
Dictionary of Bible Themes1 Timothy 1:14
1055 God, grace and mercy
2027 Christ, grace and mercy
6512 salvation, necessity and basis
6689 mercy, of Christ
Library'The Gospel of the Glory of the Happy God'
'The glorious gospel of the blessed God.'--1 TIM. i. 11. Two remarks of an expository character will prepare the way for our consideration of this text. The first is, that the proper rendering is that which is given in the Revised Version--'the gospel of the glory,' not the 'glorious gospel.' The Apostle is not telling us what kind of thing the Gospel is, but what it is about. He is dealing not with its quality, but with its contents. It is a Gospel which reveals, has to do with, is the manifestation …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
The Gospel in Small
The Chief of Sinners
A Test Case
The Glory of the King
St. Paul's Wish to be Accursed from Christ.
The Lawful and Unlawful Use of Law.
The Glorious Gospel
"Now the End of the Commandment is Charity Out of a Pure Heart, and a Good Conscience, and Faith Unfeigned. "
Thoughts Upon the Imitation of Christ.
Thoughts Upon Worldly-Riches. Sect. Ii.
The Christian's Hope
The Communion of Gifts.
Humility is the Root of Charity, and Meekness the Fruit of Both. ...
Of Lies are Many Sorts, which Indeed All...
The Joy that was Set Before Him
But Regard the Troops of virgins, Holy Boys and Girls...
The Blessed Hope and Its Power
Epistle iii. To Constantius, Bishop.
Concerning Perseverance, and the Possibility of Falling from Grace.
Paul a Pattern of Prayer
"To what Purpose is the Multitude of Your Sacrifices unto Me? Saith the Lord,"
Addresses on Holiness,
The Eternity of God
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