** Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord. ** 1 Timothy 1:2
We talk about mercy fairly often here at richinmercy.net. 🙂 It is my favorite quality of God. In our Remember the Mercy of God post we took a brief look at the Prophet Jeremiah’s life and how the Lord’s mercy was his hope in the midst of a challenging calling to be the voice of judgment over the nation of Israel.
Here in 1 Timothy, we see Paul greet Timothy with the phrase…grace, mercy and peace. The thing that strikes me about it is that it only appears three times in Paul’s letters to his churches. Twice to Timothy and once to Titus.
Paul wrote to the believers in Rome, to the churches in Galatia, Ephesus, Philippi, and Colosse. He also wrote to the persecuted church in Thessalonica. And then to Philemon, a house church pastor. All of them, people and churches that he invested a lot of time and effort.
What’s interesting is that in all of these letters to the churches, Paul says something very similar, yet very different than he does to Timothy and Titus.
** Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. ** Philemon 3
** Grace to you, and peace ** to each of these churches…not ** Grace, MERCY, and peace **. 1 Timothy 1:2
Mercy is only added in Paul’s greetings to Timothy and Titus. Why does Paul add this extra word to his greetings to these two men?
I can only come up with one reason.
** Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: ** 1 Timothy 1:2a
** To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: ** Titus 1:4a
In all of Paul’s other epistles (letters), he addresses the leaders of those churches with the blessing of grace and peace on them. He desires that they live constantly in the grace of God, enjoying all that grace entails. And peace…without contentions, uprisings, wars, anxiety, doubt, etc.
But to Timothy and Titus, his own sons in the faith….he wants one more thing for them, mercy.
There is no biblical record of Paul having any genetic children that I know of. But, here, in these two letters of encouragement to these two men, he calls them his sons. He has a special relationship with them. He has a personal interest in their well-being. He has had a vested interest in their salvation and/or their growth in Christ. He wants ALL that the Lord has for them. He wants them to prosper, be in health, be strong in faith and much more. He surely wants them to live in the grace of God daily and to live in peace.
Then, he adds one little word. Mercy.
If we look back at the Old Testament, we see at least one other man that approached his children the same way. Can you guess who it might be?
Yes, you have it. It is Job.
** There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. 2 And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters. 3 His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.
4 And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them. And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all:
for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually. ** Job 1:1-5 (Italics mine)
Job gave his sons and daughters the freedom to live their own lives. But Job knew that mistakes can be made. So, he daily offered sacrifices for their possible sins before God. Job daily came before God asking for God’s mercy on them for anything they might do wrong, intentionally or not.
If we are moms, we understand these fathers’ hearts. We love our children, physical and spiritual ones, and want the best for them. Just like Paul did. But we are also realistic and realize that sometimes we mess up, even though we don’t mean to. We understand that sometimes life just gets out of hand. Sometimes we realize too late that we have taken the wrong road. We know that we can be led down a path, innocently trusting others or trusting our own hearts, only to find in the end that we are way off course.
We can fall into any of those traps, and so can our children.
Paul loved his sons in the faith and wanted to give them a little more than he gave the masses that he dealt with. He wanted the Lord to show them mercy. Grace, yes. Peace, yes. But mercy just to cover all the bases. Paul did his best to teach and train these two men. Just like we train and invest in our children. But, Paul had first hand experience of receiving the Lord’s mercy in NOT giving Paul all that he deserved for his past behavior. Just like we have all experienced. He, probably, knew some things about these two men also. So, he prayed, blessed and hoped for the Lord’s mercy over them.
Just like we do for our own children.
So, why did Paul add this little, yet powerful word to his greetings to Timothy and Titus? Because he loved them as if they were his children. And he wanted the Lord to be merciful to them for the mistakes they make, for the sins they commit.
Just like Job did.
Just like we do.
** Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord. ** to you and to your children.
4 thoughts on “A Mercy Bonus”
You explain everything so beautfully, easy to understand and you are spot on. I get your posts at the most perfect times everyday….thank you so much for the time you take and God Bless your strong desire that everyone know Him, love and believe in Him, in true faith and come to Him. I am so fortunate to have so many true believers as my cousins, not only in heart and mind…but we are blood related and that brings me peace. I feel so blessed for that.
🙂 You are too kind!! But yes, being related through the blood of Christ makes our connection even richer!!
You have a beautiful heart and a great way with words yourself! Maybe you could start a blog and share your journey with all
of us, Nancy!! May God grant you grace, mercy and peace!!
Yes!Yes!! Amen Sister in Christ!!!!
God bless you Nancy!