For the past week we’ve been examining what it means to know that we are alive in Christ. Our passage today brings together many of the themes we’ve seen in our study so far: first, being moved from death to life is a work that only God can do—we cannot do it for ourselves. Second, life in Christ transforms us completely, from our internal perspectives to our external actions. Third, our life in Christ is accompanied by purpose—being alive in Christ allows us to serve others and glorify God.
Paul wrote this letter that we’re reading today to his spiritual son Timothy while imprisoned in Rome. This is the last letter from Paul that we have recorded in Scripture and likely one of the last he wrote before his execution. Though the Bible does not tell us about Paul’s death, historians and church tradition have concluded that shortly after he wrote this letter, Paul was killed by the emperor Nero as part of his wide- ranging persecution of Christians.
The apostle seems to know that he is coming to the end of his life (see his heartfelt words in 2 Tim. 4:6–9), and this letter includes the most important things he wants to tell Timothy. God, for His own purpose and out of His own grace, has saved us (v. 9). Though we may suffer in this world, we have faith that Jesus has defeated death and given us eternal life (v. 10). The promise of eternal life should compel us to live a holy life now while we have an opportunity to share the gospel (vv. 8, 12). The Spirit of God empowers us through His spiritual gifts to be filled with love and His power (v. 7).
Our life in Christ includes our promise of eternal life with Him and the call to a holy life now, empowered by His Spirit. What marvelous gifts of God!
Apply the Word
You may not be facing imminent death, but Paul’s example in this letter can be helpful for each of us. What would you say are the most important things in life? What would you want your loved ones to know mattered most to you? Consider writing a version of this spiritual “last will and testament” in your journal as a way of reflecting on your priorities.