A favorite hymn proclaims that a Christian is “only a sinner saved by grace.” We often associate grace with the beginning of our Christian experience. But today’s passage reveals that grace has an important role throughout our Christian life. We begin, continue, and finish the Christian life by grace.
In 2 Timothy 2:1 Paul urges Timothy to “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” The emphasis here is on grace. This strength comes from the grace that can only be found in Christ. It is a grace that is active in the life of the believers, empowering them to live the Christian life. But it is also the grace spoken of in God’s Word. For this reason, the apostle tells Timothy to entrust the things he has heard from Paul to those who will be able to teach these same truths to others. One of the ways we grow in grace is by staying in the Word.
Our experience of God’s grace is further strengthened by practice. Paul offers three analogies in verses 3–7 to show what he means. A Christian who remains strong in grace is like a soldier, an athlete, and a farmer. The athlete must compete according to the rules to win. The soldier must stay free from civilian entanglements to be available to those in command. The farmer plants to reap a harvest. These illustrations underscore the need for our Christian practice to be marked by obedience, discipline, and hope. Paul’s analogy of the farmer may also imply that, since Timothy’s message promises grace, his life should also show evidence of the strength of that grace. Allegiance to Christ often brings difficulties (vv. 9–10). Paul was willing to endure such things so that others might know this grace.
>> Verses 11–13 contain a poem that helped the early Christians remember what they believed. This is an excellent passage to commit to memory. Spend the next few days reading those verses.
We have died with You; we live with You. We will endure by Your grace and will reign with You. By Your mercy, grant that we never disown You. Though we are often faithless, You are enduringly faithful.