Page 5 - February 2018 - Truth & Tidings
P. 5

In 1 Timothy, Paul had pointed Timothy   Him – it is permeated by the grace that is
        to the revelation of an eternal Person, the   an essential part of God’s being.
        One Who is the “mystery of godliness,”   It is thus wholly consistent that Paul
        a fitting example for the “man of God”   speaks not of a purpose which is for us,
        (1Tim 6:11, KJV). Writing to Titus, among   though that would have been true, but
        the endemic falsehood of Cretan society,   of a purpose “given us in Christ Jesus.”
        he had stressed the revelation of an eternal   God is always giving, and His giving is
        promise from the lips of God Who cannot   always in Christ. The appearing of Christ,
        lie (Titus 1:1). Now, as he appeared to be   proclaimed in the gospel, has illuminated
        nothing more than insignificant flotsam,   the vastness of this divine and gracious
        buffeted by the waves of Roman power,   purpose from eternity to eternity. Thomas
        Paul rejoices in an eternal purpose far   Kelly, that indefatigable Irish hymnwriter,
        above and beyond the puny power of   put it well: “In Him the Father gave us, all
        Caesar. The purpose of God has its origin,   that boundless love could give.”
        not in the ebb and flow of time, but in the   As we worship, we must not miss the
        remote and rippleless calm of eternity,
        “before the ages of time” (JND).     point so often insisted upon in the pastoral
                                             epistles, and reiterated again here. Truth
          The scope of divine purpose is stagger-  has ethical consequences: it is “the truth
        ing. It is not its scope alone however, that   that is according to godliness” (Titus 1:1,
        occupies the mind of the apostle. Paul also   KJV). So it is here. God, Who has revealed
        rejoices in its character. The expression   Himself, Who has shined the great spot-
        “His own purpose and grace” in verse 9   light of the gospel upon His eternal and
        is a hendiadys – a figure of speech used for   gracious purpose, is the God Who “saved
        emphasis where, instead of using an adjec-  us and called us to a holy calling” (1:9,
        tive and a noun, two nouns joined by “and”   ESV). We, who are saved are in Christ
        are used. The force of Paul’s expression
        here is “His own gracious purpose.” That   Jesus. As beneficiaries of God’s gracious
        God should have an eternal purpose which   purpose, we do not have the option to live
        involves us should overwhelm our souls.   life as we will. Our calling is a holy calling.
        That this divine purpose should be char-  We are called to lives of holiness that cor-
        acterized by – should indeed be composed   respond with the truth we know and own.
        of grace – ought to fill our hearts with wor-  Paul wrote these words in a Roman
        ship and thanksgiving. We ought never   prison. It is no extravagant leap of the
        to imagine divine purpose as something   imagination to suppose that the cell was
        malign or malevolent. God’s purpose is a   dark and dingy. Chains bound the apostle’s
        purpose of grace, and the words that He   body, but they could not pinion his spirit.
        spoke by Jeremiah to Israel remain just as   Thick walls and narrow windows shut
        true for believers of this dispensation. “For   out the light of the sun, but they could
        I know the thoughts that I think toward   neither exclude nor restrain the brilliance
        you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace,   of the gospel. God grant that His truth will
        and not of evil, to give you an expected   shine brightly for us, and that we, blinded
        end” (Jer 29:11, KJV). Notice, that it is His   to all else by the blaze of its glory, might
        own purpose. It originates with God, and   willingly be “partaker[s] of the afflictions
        owes nothing to our works. Because it is   of the gospel according to the power of
        His own purpose it takes its character from   God” (1:8, KJV).

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