1 Timothy 1:14
And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
I. Consider THE GRACE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. It was this that led Him to remember you in your low estate; to interpose on your behalf; to assume your nature, and to give His life a ransom for many. "Surely He hath borne our grief and carried our sorrow." "Behold, how He loved him!" said the spectators around the grave of Lazarus, when they saw only His tears. Behold, how He loved them! was surely the exclamation of angels, when, at His cross, they beheld His blood. For was He compelled to submit to this undertaking? No. Did we deserve it? "When we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly." In the application, as well as the procuring of our salvation, the grace of the Lord Jesus appears. Means were used; but they derived all their efficacy, and their very being, from Him. But whence sprang this desire? From conviction. What produced this conviction? Reflection. And what produced this reflection? A train of events. And what are events? Providence. And what is Providence? God in action; and God, acting for the welfare of the unworthy, is grace. The progress is equally from the same source. He who quickens us, when dead in trespasses and sins, renews us day by day; and enables us to hold on our way, and wax stronger and stronger. As this laid the foundation, so it will raise the superstructure; and He shall bring forth the top-stone thereof, with shoutings, crying, "Grace, grace unto it!" But, though all are saved by this grace, some individuals seem to be, in a peculiar manner, the trophies of it; and, were it necessary, we could make, even from the records of Scripture, a marvellous selection of instances. Manasseh; the dying thief; the murderers of the Son of God; the Corinthian converts.
II. THIS GRACE IS EMINENTLY DISPLAYED IN THE CONVERSION OF PAUL: "And the grace of our Lord," says he, "was exceeding abundant." Never did His heart pity a more undeserving wretch, or His hand undertake a more desperate case. Perhaps, you say, this made the apostle so humble. It did. But humility is not ignorance and folly. Christians are often ridiculed for speaking of themselves in depreciating terms: especially when they call themselves the vilest of the vile, or the chief of sinners. It is admitted and lamented that such language may be insufferable affectation, and is sometimes used by persons who give ample evidence of their not believing it. When show is a substitute for reality, it is generally excessive.
III. THIS GRACE IS ALWAYS PRODUCTIVE OF SUITABLE INFLUENCES AND EFFECTS. "In faith and love," says the apostle, "which are in Christ Jesus."
1. Divine grace produces faith. Faith is the belief of the gospel; a firm and lively persuasion of the truth of the record that God has given of His Son, accompanied with acquiescence, dependence, and application. It will lead me to have recourse to Him for all I want.
2. Divine grace will equally produce love. To whom? To the Saviour Himself; His name, His word, His day, His service, His ways.
3. Divine grace will produce both these in the same subjects. Faith, according to the apostle's order of statement, goes before love'; for faith precedes everything in religion — it is an original principle; it is the spring from which flow all the streams of pious temper and practice; it is the root from which grow all the fruits of Christian obedience and affection. But love follows after faith. We are told that "faith worketh by love." And how should it be otherwise? Is it possible for me to believe the compassions of the Saviour, and to realize as my own the blessings of His death, and not feel my heart affected? and my gratitude constraining me to embrace Him, and my fellow-Christians, and my fellow-creatures, for His sake? By the latter of these, therefore, you are to evince the reality and genuineness of the former. The subject admonishes Christians. It calls upon you, like Paul, to review the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Remember where you were, and what you were, when He said unto you, "Live!" Look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged. This will prove the destruction of pride and ingratitude.
Parallel VersesKJV: And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.