Life-Study of 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus and Philemonby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Before we consider 3:9-15, we need a further word on verses 4 through 7. In verse 7 Paul says, “That, having been justified by the grace of that One, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Becoming heirs of God is the goal of His eternal salvation with His eternal life given to us by grace in Christ. In verses 4 through 6 we see some crucial matters needed to reach God’s goal. In verses 4 and 5 we read of certain divine attributes: kindness, love, and mercy. When these attributes are put together, we have grace. God has exercised His love, mercy, kindness, and grace in order to save us. Whenever we are about to do something of great importance, we exercise our whole being. Our mind, will, emotion, heart, and even our disposition are exercised. In like manner, God exercised His being in order to save us. He exercised His love, kindness, mercy, and grace. By means of these divine attributes God has saved us. These attributes, however, are the source; they are not the activity or the process.
In 3:5 and 6 we have activity, an action, constituting the process through which God saved us: “He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, Whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior.” God’s salvation is based upon the exercise of His attributes and through the process of the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit. The goal is that we become God’s heirs.
Paul certainly was an excellent writer. Knowing that in verses 4 through 6 he had not written anything concerning justification, he inserts the words “having been justified by the grace of that One.” Although justification is somewhat implied by the matters of salvation and washing, Paul mentions it explicitly in verse 7. We have been saved, washed, and justified. The grace by which we are justified is the totality of God’s kindness, love, and mercy. These attributes are of God. But when they become a totality in our experience, that is grace. Kindness, love, and mercy are of the Father, whereas grace is of Christ, of “that One.” For this reason, in 2 Corinthians 13:14 Paul speaks of the grace of Christ and of the love of God the Father.
In 3:7 Paul says that we become heirs according to the hope of eternal life, whereas in 1:1 and 2 he says that he became an apostle in the hope of eternal life. This eternal life meant a great deal to Paul. It also means a great deal to us as believers. Paul became an apostle in the hope of eternal life, and we become heirs of God according to the hope of eternal life. Why does Paul use the word “in” when speaking of himself and the word “according to” when speaking of us? The fact that he used the word “in” with respect to himself indicates that he was already experiencing the hope of eternal life. But because we have not yet entered into this experience to a very great extent, he says that we are heirs according to the hope of eternal life. As a very matured believer, Paul was experiencing the hope already. He was in it. But, for the most part, this experience lies ahead of us. Therefore, we are heirs according to this hope.
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