Three Pictures of Grace: 2 Timothy 2:3-7
“3) Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4) No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier. 5) Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules. 6) The hard-working farmer ought to be the first to receive his share of the crops. 7) Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.” 2 Timothy‬ ‭2:3-7‬
As we study these verses, it appears that Paul gives us three pictures of Grace. First, from verses 3 and 4, he describes what we might call “Soldier Grace.” This is Gods divine enablement made available to help us endure what in and of ourselves we otherwise could not survive. It is the picture of a soldier on the front lines.
Second, from verse 5 Paul describes what could be called “Athlete Grace.” This is God undergirding our natural abilities and helping us with self discipline and the training process. We need grace to both win well and we need grace to loose well.
Finally, in verse 6 we have what could be called “Farmer Grace.” This is God enlisting us to work in the fields of life while He orchestrates all the details to produce an abundant harvest. (See also 1 Corinthians 3:6-9)
I love these three pictures because they illustrate different ways grace can be applied in our lives. There are times I need soldier grace. I need help enduring hardship and suffering. Other times I need athlete grace. I need help with self discipline and self control. Still other times I need the grace and patience of a farmer. I need help waiting on Gods timing for the harvest recognizing things are beyond my control.
Let me be clear, these are not three different kinds of grace, but rather three different ways grace can be applied in our lives. I believe grace applies to every challenge and circumstance of life. It can be applied in many ways.
I like the way paul closes this section; “7) Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.” God wants us to meditate on His ways, seek Him in prayer and lean on Him for every circumstance in our lives.
Some need grace for giving birth. Others need grace for parenting or working through a difficult marriage. We all need grace in sharing our faith and living out biblical principles. We need grace to help us with interpersonal relationships, especially in dealing with difficult people. We need grace on the job and for the way we use our spare time. Grace is also needed when we face death. Grace is the spiritual air we breath.
Grace and faith walk hand in hand through the New Testament. It is the picture of God and man working together in tandem. God wants us to be grace dependent. Paul leaves pondering what it means to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 2:1)
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global