Strong in Grace: 2 Timothy 2:1
“1) You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 2:1
There is a saying among Bible scholars that asks, “What is the therefore there for?” It means you need to look back in the context for clues. In this case, why did Paul want Timothy to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus?
The clues are found in verses 15-18 of the previous chapter. Paul was deserted by all who were in Asia, including Phygius and Hermogenes. They gave into pressure and abandoned Paul in his time of need.
By contrast, Onesiphorus ministered to Paul in his affliction. He was a valued friend. He is mentioned only twice in the whole Bible, both times are in the book of 2 Timothy. (See 2 Timothy 4:19) He may have been from Ephesus. (2 Timothy 1:18)
Paul desired that he and his family find “mercy from the Lord on that day!” This was most likely because of his good treatment and loyalty to Paul. Scholars are openly divided over the mystery surrounding him and Pauls desire for mercy to be granted to him and his household. He was a rare and welcomed exception to Pauls abandonment, but he somehow he added weight to Pauls next plea to Timothy.
“Therefore”, or because of these three examples and the fact that Timothy’s inner fire was going out as mentioned earlier in chapter one, Paul admonished Timothy to “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” What an intriguing plea given to his beloved child in the faith.
Grace is an interesting theological concept. It includes God’s unmerited favor and underserved kindness, especially related to salvation. We do not earn our salvation through good works, it is a free gift from God to undeserving people based on the work of Jesus Christ on the cross.
But grace also included Gods strength or Divine enablement for daily living. It is not the freedom to live a sinful life (Jude 1:4); rather it is the inner power to live a holy and victorious life set aside for the glory of God. Grace boils down to supernatural inner strength to live above our circumstances. Note that all grace is anchored in Christ Jesus. He is the source of grace.
We will look at three illustrations of grace when we get to verses 3-7, but for now it is comforting to know that grace is readily available to every believer. We can be “strong” in grace. Grace is applicable to every life circumstance.
Sometimes I need grace to get out of bed in the morning. I need grace to live above daily pain and discomfort. I need grace to help me finish difficult and undesirable tasks. I need grace for the daily discipline to study and write. I need grace to adhere to good nutrition and get daily exercise. I need grace to travel and minister in strange and often unsafe countries. I need grace to bring hope and help to people in disasters and heart wrenching tragedy. I need grace to keep my heart and mind pure in the face of temptations. I need grace to control my anger when people are vulgar, rude and contentious. I need grace in the middle of a fast or to keep my mind from wandering when praying. I need grace to be thankful in every situation and avoid slipping into complaining mode. The list goes on and on. I am in need of a constant supply of grace. I also know that you have the same constant need for grace. So where do we turn?
Hebrews 4:14-16 talks about the throne of grace to which every believer has instant access. We are invited to the throne of grace where we can receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. We need not go through the struggles of this life alone.
These verses indicate that grace is something we are to consciously and constantly seek. It is not to be assumed. It may be connected to the filling of the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 5:18 in the Greek says we are to be “continually filled with the Holy Spirit.” So also we need a continual supply of grace.
Though people may abandon us, God’s grace is always in abundant supply if we humble ourselves and ask. Paul learned the secret of living moment by moment in the supply of Divine grace.
Suffering and trials have the hidden benefit of helping many believers discover this secret of living by grace. This was the testimony of Pauls life and of many today in the persecuted church. Here is the good news, our struggles come with an invitation to the throne of grace. God wants us to be strong in grace.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global
Strong in Grace: 2 Timothy 2:1