1 Timothy 1:2
To Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.
— The salutation which Paul gives to his own son in the faith is an exquisite example of what a Christian greeting should be. It is no idle compliment, but an earnest prayer.
I. THE MANIFESTATION OF DIVINE LOVE desired on Timothy's behalf is threefold, consisting of "grace, mercy, and peace," for the sympathetic mind of Paul analyzed and displayed it, much as a prism will catch a ray of sunshine, and reveal more clearly the wonderful beauty that is latent in it.
1. Grace is the free favour of God, pouring itself forth upon the soul which is yearning for it, and filling it with gladness and praise. So that a prayer for God's "grace" to be with us is really a prayer that our sins and doubts may be dispersed; for as with nature's sunlight, it is not any alteration in the sun, but a change in the earth's atmosphere, or in the earth's attitude towards the sun, that brings brightness in the place of gloom, daylight in the stead of darkness.
2. The association of the idea of mercy with grace is striking, and is peculiar to these Epistles to Timothy and to the Second Epistle of John. But it was characteristic of Paul, who was profoundly conscious of his own need of "mercy," to pray for it on behalf of his comrade, who was engaged in similar work. It is not to the erring Galatians nor to the backsliding Corinthians, but to this honoured servant of the Christian Church, that he prays for God's "mercy" to be evermore extended; for from his own experience he knew how much that mercy is needed by those who are sensible that their character comes far short of their ideal, and that their work for Christ is marred by their faults and follies. We may occupy the highest position in the Church, yet instead of being thereby exalted above the need of mercy, we must the more humbly cast ourselves upon it. Nothing but the realization of the Divine forbearance will embolden us to continue in spiritual service, which is awful in its responsibilities, and likely to be ill done by us through our sinfulness and ignorance. The noblest saint falls back in life and death on Divine mercy as his one and only hope.
3. Peace flows from the "grace" and "mercy" of God. It is a sense of reconciliation with Him — of rest in Him, which will give calmness in hours of trouble and peril, and will spread a sacred and happy influence over those around us. As good Bishop Patrick says, "Peace is the proper result of the Christian temper. It is the great kindness which our religion doth us, that it brings us to a settledness of mind and a consistency within ourselves."
II. THE SOURCE OF THESE BLESSINGS is pointed out in the assurance that they flow from "God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord."
1. If God is our Father we may surely expect such blessings, for they are just what in our lower sphere we fathers (whose fatherhood is but a broken reflection of His) would gladly give our children. We are not happy unless they are living in our "favour"; we are eager to show them "mercy" directly and whenever they come to us in penitential grief; and if there is one blessing we desire for them above others, it is that their minds may be at "peace."
2. But grace, mercy, and peace, can only come to us through Jesus Christ our Lord, because we are undeserving and sinful.
(A. Rowland, LL. B.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.