2Ti 2:1-3 “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”
In chapter one of this letter, Timothy has been instructed to cherish that gift and calling of God. Paul has admonished him to neither be ashamed of the gospel or of those who suffer affliction because of it. He has counseled that God has not given the spirit of fear. Then, he concludes the chapter by telling Timothy about the unfaithfulness of many and to be mindful of those who remain faithful.
Although all this admonishment was given almost two thousand years ago, it is still valid for those of us today who seek to follow the Lord. The first verse we are looking at now is just as viable. To do all the things that were spoken of in the first chapter, Timothy (and we) must be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. How strong do we need to be? The scripture is full of examples of men being strong in the grace that is in Christ.
One that comes immediately to mind is the story of Stephen (Acts 7:54-60). His only “crime” was preaching the truth of Jesus Christ. For this, a multitude of Jews stoned Stephen to death. As he fell to his knees, Stephen cried out “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.”
Paul (then known as Saul) was there that day and gave permission for Stephen’s stoning. I cannot help but wonder if this might not have crossed Paul’s mind when he admonished Timothy to be strong in grace. How strong was the grace of Christ in Stephen to allow him to pray for those who were in the act of taking his life! This echoes Jesus’ words from the cross when He prayed for us “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34).”
We must first know the wellspring of this wonderful grace before we can be strong in it. Jesus is the conduit for grace and truth (John 1:14, 17). There is no other source we can look to.
Paul was not ashamed of the grace and truth of Jesus Christ, and he declared it to many witnesses. We should be faithful in our spreading of God’s word both in speech and especially in action. As we are given grace, we should commend this gospel to others who are true believers in the grace of Jesus Christ. In their faithfulness, they will also be fit to teach others of this wonderful grace.
If we bear witness to the grace and truth of Jesus Christ, we are going to encounter some hardship along the way. Being a witness may require us to leave behind family and friends and go where the Lord sends us, even if we are strangers when we first go. We may encounter many who will turn aside when the afflictions of the gospel begin to mount up. However, we cannot become discouraged in the face of these adversities. As good soldiers, we must be diligent to commit the gospel of Jesus Christ, as preached by Paul and others, unto faithful men.
The word translated here as “good,” according to Strong’s, means “beautiful” or “valuable and virtuous for appearance or use.” The word translated as “soldier” means a “warrior.” Being strong in grace ensures that we will be virtuous in both appearance and use. We will be brave in the face of adversity for the cause of Christ when we are strong in grace.
May God grant to us the ability to show the beauty and power of His grace as we serve Him with endurance and love!