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BE STRONG IN THE GRACE
THAT IS IN CHRIST JESUS

By David Mantock

 

What a privilege it is to be called into the life as a Christian. Indeed, the Word of God says that before we were saved, we were in fact dead:

Ephesians 2:1:
And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins ...

God, in his great love towards us, gave all that he had to give. He gave his one and only Son. Yes, we were purchased with a great price.

Acts 20:28b (emphasis added):
... to feed the church of God, which he hath PURCHASED WITH HIS OWN BLOOD.

We were purchased with the blood of our Lord and Saviour. Now, of course we deserved to be saved, didn’t we? We were always kind to people, sometimes we were funny, we always worked hard, we even went to church, or maybe it was our good looks. Or maybe like me, you were named after a saint - surely that would clinch the deal. Well, maybe not. God leaves us in no doubt as to how and why we are saved. The how is in the following verse:

Romans 10:9:
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

The why is so amazing:

Ephesians 2:5 (emphasis added):
Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, BY GRACE ye are saved;

So there we have it, it wasn’t our good looks, good works, good humour or anything of ourselves. It was the totally undeserved favour of God, or to put it more simply: the grace of God.

When God opened your eyes (again through grace), didn’t you just burn with desire to somehow repay him for your new, better than ever “royal life”?

1 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:

However, we are human and we are weak and feeble, and let us be honest: we are often ungrateful too. Showing forth praises is not always top of our agenda.

Matthew 26:41 (emphasis added):
Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but THE FLESH IS WEAK.

We are not always full of the same intensity and energy that we had when we first heard the good news and were saved.

So here we are, caught in the middle as it were; add to this our daily responsibilities of work and taking care of our loved ones, and our life of service to God seems challenging at best and overwhelming at worst. How do we cope? Thanks to the grace of God the answer is simple:

2 Timothy 2:1 (emphasis added):
Thou therefore, my son, BE STRONG IN THE GRACE that is in Christ Jesus.

Now, we learn form the Apostle Paul’s letters to Timothy, that Timothy faced the challenge of a life of service unto the Lord. Here we have a young man...

1 Timothy 4:12a:
Let no man despise thy youth....

... who had the privilege to be an example to the Church and to lead and teach them.

1 Timothy 4:12b:
... but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

1 Timothy 4:11:
These things command and teach.

I can identify with Timothy, especially as I am facing the new challenge of serving God in Switzerland, which for me, being born in England, is a foreign land. I do not speak German, French or Italian which are just three of the four languages that are spoken here (Rumantsch being the other one, and I don’t speak that either!). I can imagine that at times Timothy felt that there was a barrier between him and his goal of serving God’s people effectively. How comforting it must have been for him to receive Paul’s letters. Paul who was his mentor and who had led him into the faith. I just have the language barrier to deal with, but I too take great comfort from those letters. There are some very specific instructions regarding church matters and in particular being a servant to God’s people. The verse that really stands out though and the one that I hold dear to my heart and that I am trying to live by is this one:

2 Timothy 2:1:
Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

Whatever our situation, God wants us to be strong in his grace towards us, the grace that was made possible by the sacrifice of his one and only most perfect Son. We did not deserve this, we could not earn it or pay for it in any way. For us to go forward in the things of the Lord we have to remember that we can only do his work due to his grace which gives us the strength that we need.

Jesus spake of the possibilities that are available to us as Christians:

Luke 18:27:
And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.

John 14:12:
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

We serve a God who is almighty, and as I said afore, the life of a Christian is a privileged one. Although we endure hardness for Christ’s sake, it is in truth a life in the sun.

Psalm 84:11:
For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

 

 


From the December 2002 issue of The Vine & Branches