November 14, 2021

The Grace of Our Lord


A few years ago, when I was living in the SF bay, I had to drive over the bridge, in order to do that, I had to stop to pay for the bridge toll $2, I was surprised by the worker at the booth when I had him the money, he said that the people in a car in front of me paid for me. I looked in front and realized that I do not know anyone has such model of the car. These were compete strangers! It had a very strong effect on me, so that 20 years later, I still remember it. And when I shared it with some of my friends, we began to conduct this very exciting experiment on other people, but paying for their bridge toll, and see in the mirrors as we drive away, how people react… More than once we saw how people simply could not understand what happened, and the workers in the booth would have to argue with them not to pay.

This week preparing for this message, I conducted an experiment in our neighborhood. I took a box of chocolate candies and visited businesses and residential houses in our area and simply offered everyone I ran into one candy as a gift. Interesting statistics: about half of the people took candy, half did not. Those who did not take, often used some lame excuses (like, I already had some sweets today), but some asked clarifying questions like: “Is it truly free?” “Do I have to pay for it?” “Is there a catch?” Many looked at me as a stranger with a candy. And one person even said it to me “Sure it looks like a candy from a stranger…” ☺ Those who took it said “thank you.”

In any case, it gave me an opportunity to talk about grace, eternity and death, even the church. Conclusion: many people still understand the concept of a free gift or grace, but also for many, the very idea of something is a gift is foreign concept (like a candy from a stranger).

A question for the audience: please share specific examples when something was given to you by God or people – by grace, undeservedly! 

The question of grace, or of a free gift, is very serious in the teaching of the Bible. Today, we will talk about this concept once again.

I. The Nature of Grace (v. 20)

A. It Belongs to Christ 

Here we need to take a short tour of the Bible to trace and important element of the nature of grace. It cannot exist apart from the person of Jesus Christ!

(John 1:14-17) – grace came to us from Jesus Christ. The incarnation of Christ is the coming of grace! Grace has come to people in the person of Christ! Christ is that undeserved gift! It is He who is the cause of joy for all of us! He brings salvation!

(Titus 2:11-13) – Grace appeared… saving grace – this is the appearance of Christ – and the salvation that He brings to all people on earth!

(Eph. 2:8-10) – salvation by grace!

Grace in our context is not saving grace, but sanctifying grace! It gives strength to say NO to sin, to live holy lives, to do God’s will, and to serve!

(Titus 2:12-13) – lads to a holy life!

(2 Tim. 2:1) – strengthen yourself by Grace – gives strength! For what? (v. 2) – to entrust the truth to faithful men; make disciples of Christ

(Heb. 4:16) – grace that brings help (v.15) in the struggle against sin.

(2 Cor. 8:9, 9:7-8)–Grace leads Christ and us toward sacrificial giving

(1 Cor. 15:10) – any work done by the believer is the work of grace!

Conclusion: 1) Salvation is a gift from Christ! 2) Sanctification is a gift from Christ! If in the first case, grace applies to us what Christ did in our place on the cross, then in the second case, grace applies to us what we should do in our life! But this is also grace!

B. It Is Given Only to a Person

This is our Lord, and grace be with you!

Grace must be applied personally to each individual, otherwise it is just a theological term and part of systematic theology.

And many people look at this concept as at some part of theology.

It is interesting that this particular phenomenon is applicable only to a person, and not to an angel, for example.

(1 Pet. 1:10-12) – grace in salvation, this is what the angels want to get into, but they have no idea! It is not available to them!

Always ask the question – why? Why does Peter say that grace in salvation is something very interesting and intriguing, to such degree, that even the angels want to understand, and want to know, but it is not revealed to them!

If this is valuable to the angels, then it must be more valuable to me!

II. The Work of Grace (vv. 21-23)

A. Saves Sinners

Timothy is a child of believing parents (Acts 16:1; 2 Tim. 1:3-5)

Jews professing OT

Gentiles and pagans

Poor and rich, people in authority and without (Erastus and just Quartus)

Very sinful and not (16:13)

What makes all of these different people worthy of salvation? They are sinners! To be qualified for grace you must be sinner!

B. Changes the Saved

Timothy – was the co-author of the apostle Paul in writing 6 letters (2 Cor., 1 and 2 Thess., Philip., Col., and Philemon). He became part of Paul’s team on his second missionary journey (Acts 16:1-3; 1 Cor. 4:17; Phil. 2:19-22).

Jason – received Paul during his noisy visit to Thessalonica (Acts 17:5-10).

Sosipater – from Berea (Acts 20:4-6)

Gaius is from Corinth, as the letter was written in Corinth (1 Cor. 1:14). He unequivocally showed hospitality to Paul, but the hospitality to the whole church can have a double meaning: either the entire local church gathered at his home (which is unlikely, but possible), or most of all – he was hospitable to all church members – he received them all at home!

Erastus is the treasurer of the whole city of Corinth, which is a high position, and which means that most likely he was a noble and wealthy man.

C. Gives the Scripture (v. 22)

A very interesting observation that can only be made by looking at the Greek text.

Ἀσπάζομαι ὑμᾶς ἐγὼ, Τέρτιος, ὁ γράψας τὴν ἐπιστολὴν, ἐν Κυρίῳ.

The phrase “in the Lord” can refer to both, the greeting in the Lord and writing a message in the Lord. The second option has a strong support, since a similar phrase structure occurs more than once in this chapter, and is more perceived in the sequence that the Greek text represents.

(vv. 3, 8, 9, 10, 13) – the majority in the Lord or in Christ is explained as a modifier of the previous phrase.

If so, then we have at least the option of what “in the Lord” may refer to the writing of this letter.

In other words, Tertius implies that not only God guided Paul’s thinking, sending him the correct understanding of the truth, but the very process of dictating and writing the Epistle was under God’s control.

And this is grace! It is grace that God speaks to us!

God oversees the entire process of writing Scripture, and copying it. And this text reveals to us an interesting picture of us! 

(2 Tim. 3:16) – the value of the Scripture is in the source, and there are no impurities there!

(2 Pet. 1:21) – moved by the Holy Spirit

(Ps. 119:140) – The Word like a refined tested gold! This means that there are no impurities in it. It is perfect, pure, holy! Natural reaction – we love such perfect things! But, the question is – how is that perfection achieved! 

The result is that the Word of God is inspired by God, inerrant, pure, complete because God was overseeing absolutely the entire process!

The Gospel: if you are a guest, there are a few things you need to know – God loves you, and salvation of your soul is a gift that we humans accept by faith. How? By faith accepting the fact that we are sinners, and Christ died on the cross in my place! But the Gospel does not stop there – grace or a gift begins to move us toward a certain lifestyle – a holy way of life! This is not an infringement on all human desires, but life in that harmony for which God created mankind!

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