2 Timothy 2:1 “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”
Are you a strong Christian? What does this even mean? As with most things in the Scriptures, the emphasis here is not on the physical. Nothing wrong with that, mind you. Bodily exercise is beneficial to us. The Bible even says this: “bodily training is of some value” (I Timothy 4:8). However, the rest of the verse says “godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” And that is the strength that is mentioned in 2 Timothy 2:1.
Paul said these words to his protege Timothy. He was encouraging him to be strong spiritually as a young pastor. Like Paul, he was sure to face criticism and other opposition in his work. Paul encouraged him to, nevertheless, not be timid or fearful (2 Timothy 1:7), but strong – bold if you will. But his basis for boldness was to be rooted in “the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”
Although Timothy (and the rest of us) have various, perhaps many, weaknesses, our spiritual strength comes from our relationship with Jesus. We are forgiven, because of His grace, not because of our goodness; in fact that’s what grace is about – in spite of our sinfulness, Jesus graciously forgives us if we put our faith in Him. Every other blessing of God is poured out on believers on the basis of that same grace.
Who are we to tell anyone else how to be saved? Who are we to tell other sinners about righteousness? Who are we to share the message of eternal life with anyone, for we are surely no better than anyone else – and maybe, like Paul, we see ourselves as “the worst of sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15)? It’s because of God’s grace – His unmerited favor, that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). And because we have been showered with the blessing of God’s grace, we can likewise be gracious – i.e, strong in the grace, that we have in Christ Jesus. Just as we are to love because he first loved us, and we are to forgive because we’ve been forgiven, and we are to bless others with the grace of God because He has been gracious to us.
Something to think about when someone wrongs us in some way, or makes us angry by some slight or selfish act. It is at such times that “strong grace” will make itself known by obedience to Christ’s commands to “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them” (Luke 6:27-31).
May God give us the strength to demonstrate such grace.
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