People may use different phrases to express it - "a new beginning", "turning over a new leaf", "a second chance" - but what's amazing about this city is that almost everyone likes the concept of grace. This Sunday, we'll look at what it means to understand grace in 1 Tim. 1:8-20, and how Paul opens his life to us to share one the most unlikely stories of God's kindness.
Here are a few questions to think through as you prepare for this Sunday:
- Do you think it's really possible for someone to have a new beginning? Is there anything you can do that won't let you have that?
- What do you think you need to recognize about your own life before you can fully understand God's grace?
- What do you think are some indications in someone's life that they understand grace?
- Do you think it's odd that Paul spends all this time talking about grace, and then finishes his discussion by telling Timothy to "fight" (1:18)? Can these concepts really be put together?
1 Timothy 1:8-20
Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 9 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 glorious gospel of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.
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 ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
18 This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, 20 among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.