1 & 2 Timothy, Titus by Paul M. Zehr

By Paul M. Zehr

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In John, salvation is described in the language of eternal life. By believing in and accepting Jesus, one has eternal life (John 3:16; 1 John 5:12). In the Pauline epistles, salvation is described with four metaphors: justification, redemption, reconciliation, and adoption. Throughout the NT, salvation comes through the ministry and atoning death of Jesus Christ on the cross (Rom 3:21-25; 2 Cor 5:19, 21; 6:2). God’s love and grace provide the foundation for this saving work of Christ (Rom 5:8; Eph 2:8).

Paul, the Foremost Sinner, Experiences God’s Mercy 1:12-17 In 1 Timothy 1:3-7, Paul lays out the basic problem and instructs Timothy to stop the unhealthy teaching. In 1:8-11 the opponents have been misusing the law. Now in 1:12-17, Paul turns from observance of the law to a focus on himself as an example of God’s work of salvation through grace and mercy. Paul’s personal example provides a clear contrast to the teachers who adhered to Jewish myths based on the law. Some commentators see this section as a digression from the thought that Paul conveys in 1:8-11 and picks up again in 1:18-20.

Medieval theology emphasized the sacraments as the means of receiving God’s grace and thereby experiencing salvation. Protestant reformers promoted justification by faith as the central NT theme in salvation. Sixteenth- 1 Timothy 1:1­–2 37 century Anabaptists generally agreed with the Protestant reformers that all people have sinned and need salvation, that salvation is provided through the death of Christ on the cross, and that this salvation becomes effective only if and when people respond in faith.

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