STRONG IN GOD’S GRACE
Father God, thank you for the things to which you call me today. Prepare me to do your will, work in me and through me in ways that show the wonder of your kingdom!
Read 2 TIMOTHY 2:1-13
The Appeal Renewed
2 You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. 3 Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. 5 Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. 6 The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. 7 Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.
8 Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.
11 Here is a trustworthy saying:
If we died with him,
we will also live with him;
12 if we endure,
we will also reign with him.
If we disown him,
he will also disown us;
13 if we are faithless,
he remains faithful,
for he cannot disown himself.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘… just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him … strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.’1
Paul exhorts Timothy to ‘be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus’ (v 1). How can one be strong in grace? Grace means undeserved favor. Just as we are saved by grace,2 so we must live by grace.3 This means trusting completely in Christ and his power, not trying to live in our own strength alone.
Paul then sounds his frequent note about preserving and transmitting the truth.4 Paul had entrusted the gospel to Timothy, and Timothy must pass it on to other teachers. If the church consistently followed this example, it would expand rapidly, as believers learned to teach others and commission them, in turn, to teach others. In the great commission, Jesus asks us to make and teach disciples.5 Unfortunately, some foreign missionaries in India made converts, not disciples, who were dependent on them for everything. Today we teach that the local church should not only be self-governed and self-supporting, but also self-propagating. In North East India the Ao Nagas and the Mizos began to go out after the harvest and share the gospel in other villages. After 10 years, there were no more unconverted Ao Nagas or Mizos and so they turned to other tribes.
Paul uses three pictures of the Christian life. First, the soldier (vs 3,4): ‘endure hardship’6 suggests pain and suffering as part of the Christian’s lot in life. That will inevitably happen as we engage in warfare against evil. Second, the athlete (v 5): Paul is fond of athletic metaphors. Christians must be good spiritual athletes. The goal of an athlete is to ‘receive the victor’s crown,’ but only if an athlete competes ‘according to the rules.’ Third, Paul speaks of the farmer (vs 6,7): pastors must sow the seed and cultivate. Paul emphasizes hard work and diligence.
Be strong and faithful in ministry.
Gracious God, I confess that there are times when following you is hard and I am daunted by the challenge; there are times when reward is slow in coming and I grow weary waiting. Help me to persevere, to never lose sight of the rewards you have promised.
1 Col 2:6,7 2 Eph 2:8,9 3 Rom 6:14 4 Cf 2 Tim 1:13,14 5 Matt 28:16–20 6 New King James version
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