II Timothy 1:8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;
9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:
11 Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.
God continued to guide the apostle Paul in his words to Timothy. Timothy needed to be reminded of Who it was that saved him. Christians can be tempted. Life can be difficult for Christians. However, we need to stop and think about how we got to be Christians. Jesus Christ left Heaven’s glory and took upon himself the form of a man. Paul was directed to write these words regarding our Saviour:
Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
When any true Christian leader thinks life is too difficult, they need to be reminded of the cost of their salvation. No Christian has ever paid for their salvation. We need to remember that the sinless, eternal Son of God left Heaven’s glory to come to this earth and suffer and die on the cross of Calvary. That was a shameful and cruel death. He shed His blood on that cross for our sins, not for His own. He had no sin. He never committed any sin. Yet He went to the cross to provide salvation for sinners who have no way of being saved other than through His sacrificial death.
Timothy needed to be reminded of the blessing of God’s salvation. That salvation was a holy calling. Peter was directed by God to remind us:
I Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
Christians do not get puffed up with pride, however they need to appreciate the greatness of the gift of salvation. With that gift comes also the avenue of service that God has in mind for each one of His children. Paul reminded Timothy that his calling was not according to his works. If it would have been, Timothy would never have been saved and he would never have been put into the ministry. God had a purpose for Timothy. God has a purpose for every person. God created Adam to glorify Him. God did not create Adam to be a sinner. God gave Cain the gift of physical life so that Cain would glorify Him. Cain chose to reject God and he defied God and murdered his own brother and then when God dealt with him for his sin, he blamed God for being too hard on him. That is a typical response of man to punishment. Very few accept the punishment as just.
I watched part of an interview with the trucker who was involved in that terrible bus crash in Saskatchewan a while back. That trucker pled guilty to all charges laid against him. He never fought against any of it. He is in prison due to his wrong actions. He is a rare person. I do not know if this man has been saved through all he has faced. I know there were some Christians that had access to him in prison prior to the Wuhan virus restrictions. I do not know if any Christians are allowed to visit him now.
God’s will for all people is that they be saved. There are many who reject His offer and provision for salvation, but that is not His fault. Paul was directed to remind Timothy that God had a purpose in saving him and he also had a purpose in calling him into the ministry. It was all of God’s grace and for His glory.
We notice as well that this purpose of God was in place before the world began. There are those who like to jump on these portions of Scripture and claim that God knew who would be saved and if He knew who would not be saved, then He must be forcing those people not to be saved. That line of reasoning is the line that a fool would take. The Bible is abundantly clear that God is not willing that any should perish. God reached out to Adam after he sinned. Adam did not go running, looking for God. Adam tried to fix his sin by himself. He then went to hide when he heard the voice of God in the Garden. He had no real solution to his sin. God reached out to him and provided forgiveness and salvation for him. The same is true for Cain and for all people. God’s eternal purposes in no way suggest that He is unjust. The wise person accepts the fact that we do not know everything about God. We will never know everything about God. We can know enough about God to trust Him and enjoy His blessings now and for eternity.
God revealed His plan to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:15:
Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
God continued to flesh out that plan for man throughout the Bible. God knew the plan from the beginning. He revealed the details of the plan to man as time went on. What God required of man, is to trust Him with the plan. That is still the case now. We are saved by grace through faith. We are not saved by intellectual means. We do not sit and try to rationalize God’s way of salvation and then get saved. We, who are saved and those who get saved, do so by faith in what God has promised. Beyond that, those who are saved also need to walk by faith. We will never understand all there is to know about God. We will never master everything God has given us in His Word. However, we can know His way of salvation and we can also know the blessings of His salvation. As Paul wrote these words to Timothy, they must have had an impact on his heart.
In verse 10, Paul wrote that God revealed His purpose in greater detail with the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. After Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, He appeared several times to the disciples. The Bible tells us that Thomas was not present when Jesus previously appeared to the other disciples. Thomas was a doubter. He said he would not believe unless he personally saw and touched the wounds in Jesus’ body. God graciously granted Thomas that opportunity. Jesus also rebuked Thomas for his unbelief. Jesus stated in that context:
John 20:29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
The Old Testament saints believed in God’s provision of salvation, even though they did not see Jesus. After the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ, those who have been saved have trusted in what the Bible says. They have not seen Jesus Christ. Salvation has always been by faith in God. Jesus Christ came and He did suffer and die on the cross of Calvary. He shed His blood on that cross. He rose again victorious over sin and death on the third day. He ascended back up to glory and is today seated on the right hand of the Father in glory. How do I know that? I accept it by faith in a God Who cannot lie. I do not need to see Jesus Christ. I do not need an audible voice from God to make me believe. God has worked in my heart to show me that I was a lost sinner bound for Hell. He also showed me through His Word and through His Holy Spirit that He has provided the only means of salvation and that is through the gift of eternal life provided by the Lord Jesus Christ. I accepted that gift and God gave me that gift.
As our text tells us, Jesus Christ abolished death. The true child of God will not face the second death. He or she will never spend a second in Hell.
Jesus Christ has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. Through the preaching of the gospel souls get saved. Timothy had been given the privilege of having a part in that great work. What a privilege it is to remind others that they too can be saved. They too can be forgiven. They too can have eternal life. That message is given through the Gospel of Christ.
In verse 11, Paul reminded Timothy of his calling. For a moment, God was directing Paul to remind Timothy of the credentials of the man he had trusted to mentor him to the place of greater faith in God. Paul did not choose to be an apostle. He was appointed to that place by the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul was appointed to be a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. That was God’s choice for Paul. Today as well, those who enter the ministry, need to have that assurance that God has called them into that work. Many have chosen to enter a “ministry” but they have done so for the wrong reason. They have done so because they assumed there was big money to be had, or the prestige or some other purpose. They have not been moved by the love of God to enter the ministry. Timothy had also been called of God, but God directed Paul to remind Timothy of his calling. Timothy needed to continue to believe in Paul as his spiritual friend who was seeking to help him to be faithful to the work he was called to. Paul was not speaking as a mere human being. He was speaking according to God’s call upon his life.
All of this was given to Timothy to help him to deal with his current situation and to prosper at that work that God had given him to do. He was not alone. He was saved by faith through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was trained for the ministry by God’s faithful servant, the apostle Paul. He was given the privilege of serving God in the direct call of the ministry. Paul referred to him at one point as an evangelist. A great calling. No Christian is ever content to choose something other than what God has in mind for them. Some choose wrong, but they are not content then either. We need to be saved, be baptized and join a good local church to be discipled so as to be able to know God’s call on our life and then faithfully step into that call by faith in the same God that saved us. He will direct and He provides blessings along the way.