To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.1 Timothy 1:2(NASB)
This letter is written personally to Timothy, whom Paul addressed as 'my true son in the faith'. Timothy was not Paul's physical offspring, but was either led to faith in Christ Jesus by Paul personally when he visited Lystra, or had been nurtured and discipled by the older apostle. Timothy was a man who knew the Scriptures well, having been taught them from infancy by his grandmother Lois and mother Eunice, as well as accompanying Paul on some of his missionary exploits.
This is the first mention of the word 'faith' in this epistle, which was used 18 times elsewhere. It demonstrates the weight of importance that faith played in Paul's mind. Timothy had not only believed on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, but had obviously exhibited the same spiritual qualities and moral characters as his mentor.
In Psalm 127, we read that 'children are a gift from the LORD and a productive womb is the Lord's reward'. But no matter how thrilling it is to have one's 'quiver full of them', it is always a great privilege to have spiritual offspring. Having sons and daughters 'in the faith' who have developed spiritually, grown in grace, and matured in their understanding of the Lord Jesus Christ, is a great joy with an eternal perspective. In his third letter, the apostle John endorsed this when he wrote: "I have no greater joy than this: to hear that my children are walking in the truth."
Unlike the Galatian believers who were trying to be made perfect by fleshly works and caused Paul to lament, "My children, again I am in the pains of childbirth for you until Christ is formed in you," Timothy was growing in grace and in a knowledge of the Lord Jesus, and he was developing his spiritual gift as a pastor-teacher of the Word to the Christians in Ephesus.
Paul knew that it is not only important to teach the truth of the gospel of grace to unbelievers, but to nurture, disciple, and encourage baby Christians to grow in the faith. To be justified in God's sight is a onetime occurrence but sanctification is the process of a lifetime, and all believers, especially new Christians, need the right teaching if they are to develop into healthy believers.
Paul's usual greeting of 'grace and peace' was extended with the addition of 'mercy': "To Timothy, my true child in the faith," he writes, "grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord." Each of these three words demonstrate a different aspect of God's character. Grace is when we receive what we don't deserve, mercy is not receiving what we do deserve, while peace with God is given to all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. And the peace of God is what our heart can be filled with when a believer walks in spirit and truth and in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, makes their requests known to God.
As with all his letters, the little epistle of first Timothy provides each of God's children with great encouragement and edification, authoritative instruction on living the Christian life, and wisdom in combatting false teachings, as well as the blessings of God's grace, the joy of His mercy and His perfect peace in our hearts, a peace which passes understanding.
God's grace, mercy, and peace is not only ours from God the Father but it also comes through Jesus Christ our Lord. Grace, mercy, and peace is our present possession from God our Father Who sent His only begotten Son to be the sacrifice for our sin, but we also are given grace, mercy, and peace from the Lord Jesus Christ Who loved the Church so dearly that He gave Himself for her.
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your grace, mercy, and peace, which you have bestowed on all Your children who walk in humility of heart, gentleness of spirit, and desire a knowledge of the truth. Thank You that I am Your child through faith in Christ Jesus my Lord. I pray that my faith would be strengthened and perfected as I die to self and live for Christ alone. Thank You for the ministry of Paul and the other apostles of Christ. Help me to stand fast in the evil day and grow in grace and in a knowledge of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, in Whose name I pray, AMEN.