1 Timothy 1.12-17 – Forget The Past

Today we see that no matter who we were, how we were, or where we were, there is nobody that God cannot use.

12 I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, 13 though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. 16 But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. 17 To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honour and glory forever and ever. Amen.

Paul writes that even though he was the foremost sinner, a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent opponent, he received mercy because this was all done in unbelief. We see that the grace of our Lord is far stronger than sin committed in unbelief. 

Paul is used as a very particular example, that Jesus Christ might display his perfection patience as an example fo those who were to believe in him for eternal life.

Remember, this is coming off the back of a section wherein Paul tells Timothy that look, the law came to expose those who are living in sin. Now, he says, those very people are still not beyond the life-saving, life-changing love and grace and mercy of God. 

The same is true for you. 

No matter who you were, no matter how you were, no matter where you were, Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. It doesn’t matter to Him what you have done in unbelief, so long as you sincerely acknowledge that it was wrong, make a genuine effort to turn away from it, completely, and commit to living the life He wants you to live from now onwards. 

We all know we have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, but that is exactly the reason for the Gospel, the Good News, that no matter what happened before, you have a chance now to be judged faithful in the eyes of God through faith in Jesus and to be brought into His service.

What part of your past do you need to forget today? Where do you need to receive mercy and grace today?

1 Timothy 1.8-11 – What to Focus On

Today Paul expands on the idea that those who do not understand the law should not teach the law (vv.6-7). 

Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.

Paul says right away that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, and this seems to be the problem; whether it is used well.


Those who desired to be teachers of the law but had no understanding of the law were actually using God’s very vehicle for salvation as a barrier to it.


So, rather than the law being used to show us that we are sinners, that we will never work our way to God, that we can never earn His approval and justification, and instead we need to come to Him by faith in the substitute that He provides, these wanna-be teachers are condemning people for not living up to the holy and righteous standards that only One can live up to. 

Paul gives an overview of the kinds of ways we have fallen short of the glory of God (vv.9-10), and finishes by saying that, along with the examples given, whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God is what the law came to expose. 

However, for you and for me living today, and for the people in Paul and Timothy’s day too, grace and righteousness and salvation is not actually found in the law, is it. The grace of God, the righteousness of God, the salvation He offers, none of these are to be found by adhering to law, they are to be found by being in right relationship with God by having faith in Jesus. 

Let us focus on that today, not trying to earn our way to God through our good conduct, rather, focusing on being a follower and disciple of Jesus, relying on His good conduct and His finished work on the cross, and the acceptance, justification, and salvation He offers. 

1 Timothy 1.1-2 – Grace, mercy, and peace


In 1 Timothy, Paul is writing to Timothy as a new church leader. Even if the letter is specifically addressed to Timothy, there is still much attention needed by those under his charge.

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,

To Timothy, my true child in the faith:

Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

1.1-2

Paul sets out his credentials and his authority (an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Saviour…). Even if the letter is specifically addressed to Timothy, there is still much attention needed by those under his charge.

Timothy and the church are addressed with grace, with mercy, and with peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord

Churches need grace, mercy, and peace, for sure. Individuals need grace, mercy, and peace too. I read something interesting that mercy is added to Paul’s address only to Timothy and in Titus, the other letter written to a church-leading Pastor. Does that mean only church leaders need mercy? Absolutely not, we all do.

For you and me now, today, the church body we are a part of, both global and local expression is a place to find grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. It is a place where we take our failures, shortcomings, anxieties, doubts, and questions and find them answered in Christ Jesus our Lord through His people. 

The church is also a place that needs your grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. It is full of broken people who need you to come alongside them and show them in the grace, mercy, and peace He offers. 

Why not take a moment and pray and see to whom you can minister today?

Brokenness Aside

This song by All Sons & Daughters has some deep truths in it for us. Let’s just look at the chorus.

‘Cause I am a sinner
If it’s not one thing it’s another
Caught up in words
Tangled in lies
But You are a Savior
And You take brokenness aside
And make it beautiful
Beautiful

Often the point we all get to before we realise that we are in dire need of a Saviour is to realise that I am a sinner. We know that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3.23). We also know that God is a God of justice, a holy God, and must act on sin (Habakkuk 1.13). All this point to the fact that as sinners we are deserving of judgement. The Bible tells us that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6.23).

We often find ourselves caught up in words and tangled in lies. Maybe it’s words spoken in anger to our children. Maybe it’s words said in frustration to our spouse. Maybe it’s bending the truth into a lie to make ourselves look better at work. Maybe we lie to ourselves and say that ‘just once‘ is ok, ‘this time I’ll do it, next time I won’t‘. Whatever it is, we all fall short of the glory of God, and if it’s not one thing it’s another.

All this may get us down, all this may leave us feeling hopeless. Is our conclusion going to be Romans 6.23? But, as sinful as we are, Jesus is even more righteous. As deceiving as we are, He is even more pure and holy. As irrational and unpredictable as we are, He is unchanging (Malachi 3.6, Hebrews 13.8).

Whilst we are not to use this as an excuse to do what we want (Romans 6.1-2), we are to take comfort and encouragement that Jesus is a Saviour and He takes brokenness aside and makes it beautiful.

Rather than taking our anger, frustration, guilt, shame, tiredness, inconsistencies, and apprehension out on those closest to us, there is only One place to take it. 

Take all of this, and any other burdens you are carrying, to Jesus and watch Him take brokenness aside

The Gospel in Zephaniah

Where is the Gospel in Zephaniah?

From coming judgement earlier in the book, when we get to 3.15 we see

The LORD has taken away the judgments against you;

he has cleared away your enemies.

The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst;

you shall never again fear evil.

How did this happen then?

God Himself has taken away the judgements against you.

This is the constant them of Scripture, all of the Old Testament looks ahead to it, and the New Testament is pretty clear how this happened.

1 Peter 2.24

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

John 1.29  

The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

1 John 2.2

He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

Then just look what God does for us despite our sinfulness, look what God does for us despite our shame, look what God does for us despite ourselves…

17 The LORD your God is in your midst,

a mighty one who will save;

he will rejoice over you with gladness;

he will quiet you by his love;

he will exult over you with loud singing.

18 I will gather those of you who mourn for the festival,

so that you will no longer suffer reproach.

19 Behold, at that time I will deal

with all your oppressors.

And I will save the lame

and gather the outcast,

and I will change their shame into praise

and renown in all the earth.

20 At that time I will bring you in,

at the time when I gather you together;

for I will make you renowned and praised

among all the peoples of the earth,

when I restore your fortunes

before your eyes,” says the LORD.

Look what God will do for His people.

I will gather those of you who mourn for the festival,

I will deal with all your oppressors

I will save the lame and gather the outcast

I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth

I will bring you in

I will make you renowned and praised among all the peoples of the earth

This will happen before the very eyes of those who have confessed with their mouths that Jesus is Lord and believed in their hearts that God raised Him from the dead, look what God will do.

The Minor Prophets tend to give the same core message, don’t they, that as people, we are naturally rebellious and we have departed from the life God intended us and desires us to live.

Despite this, however, they also show that God is 100% committed, willing, and wanting to do good to us anyway – in His amazing, saving, justifying, sanctifying, and ultimately glorifying grace.

How can God treat His people with grace and love when, really, they deserve to be forsaken?

This is only resolved finally in the life, death, resurrection, and exaltation of Jesus Christ.

And if you respond to this in faith, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, look what God will do.

Jude 1.3-4 – Fight for the Faith

Periodically on the internet you come across stories like this, ‘Teen girl uses crazy strength to lift burning car off dad‘.

In times like this, people are fighting for what they hold dear and contending for what they love. Here in Jude 1.3-4, we see the same.

Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

So Jude actually wanted to write to these believers about salvation (v.3), but instead he writes a short letter urging them to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. He is asking them to fight for what they hold dear, and to contend for that which they love.

The reason is given in v.4, because there are people who pervert the grace of God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

Jude is exhorting his readers, and us, to fight for the faith, meaning the core doctrines and truths of Christianity, the core teachings and truths of the faith that is common to all of us, the faith that brings us into community.

When we see those who teach and live this idea that because of God’s amazing, saving, justifying, sanctifying, and ultimately glorifying grace we can simply live how we like because grace covers it all, Jude encourages and exhorts us to take a stand, to contend for the faith. The same is true of those who deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

There are some who may take the truth of God’s grace and turn the grace of our God into lewdness. But this doesn’t mean there is anything wrong or dangerous about the message of God’s grace. It simply shows how corrupt the human heart is. 

David Guzik

Today then, let us fight for the faith, let us wrestle for the faith, and let us contend for the faith.

Let us do this in word – the way we speak of our faith, and the way we lovingly challenge those who speak contrary to our faith.

Let us do this in walk – the way we live our faith. 

Let us fight for what we hold dear, and let us contend for what we love. 


Point to ponder – How can I contend for the faith today?


Prayer – Father, we know that ours is a faith worth fighting for, we know that ours is faith worth loving, and we thank you for how you have shown us that ours is a faith worth dieing for. Help us today to contend for the faith in all that we say and do, for your name’s sake and for your glory. Amen. 

3 John 1.9-10 – Truth in Humility

Having seen a good example in vv.5-8, John now gives us an example of what to avoid.

I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority.

10 So if I come, I will bring up what he is doing, talking wicked nonsense against us. And not content with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers, and also stops those who want to and puts them out of the church.

When we acknowledge the truth of Jesus, and submit our lives to this truth, we will find ourselves wanting more and more not to act like this.

The example here of Diotrephes is certainly what not to do.

He was proud – …likes to put himself first…

He was putting himself as the ultimate authority in his own life – …does not acknowledge our authority.

He was gossiping – …talking wicked nonsense against us.

He was refusing to show hospitality – …refuses to welcome the brothers

He was preventing others showing hospitality and excommunicating them from the church – …stops those who want to and puts them out of the church.

When we see examples like this in God’s Word, we would do well to remember the principle of 1 Peter 5.5, James 4.6, and Proverbs 3.34, wherein we see that God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

Image result for god resists the proud but gives grace to the humble

“The truth of Jesus that guides our lives will surely help us to resist pride and receive grace.”

When we truly acknowledge, profess, and possess the truth of Jesus, there will be more humility than pride in our lives, and we will want to resist pride at all costs, and receive grace above all else. 


Point to ponder – What am I doing today to resist pride and receive grace?


Prayer – Father, we thank you that your Word has both good examples and bad examples in it for us to learn from. Help us to learn from this passage in 3 John today, help us to resist pride, and help us to receive grace more abundantly than we could ever imagine. Amen.