Please read 2 Timothy 1:8-12.

Verse 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.”

Spurgeon made an important statement about this text, “The old man eloquent feels his soul kindling as he describes the glories of the gospel, eternal in its purpose, matchless in its achievements.  He sits on the brink of the grave and sings of One Who hath abolished death. Faith in the resurrection could alone suggest such a triumphant exclamation.”

In verse eight, Paul proves to all Christians that first of all, we are not to be ashamed of the cross because of the sufferings that come to those who live a godly testimony for Christ. Secondly, we are not to be ashamed because of the power and grace of God that is seen in them.

We have to wonder if Paul thought that Timothy was ashamed of the Gospel and testimony of Christ. Timothy was aware of the fact that Paul was in prison because of his commitment to Jesus Christ.

The testimony of the Gospel is that it proclaims Christ’s crucifixion and the fact that He rose again on the third day. There has always been a stigma for the Christian in proclaiming the suffering, death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, and this is the reason for Paul’s statement on shame.

Paul had it right when he said in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” The Gospel literally became the power of God unto salvation.

The Bible commands us, “Be thou partaker of the afflictions of the Gospel.” God is saying that it is an honorable thing to be a partaker of the afflictions of the Gospel, because to suffer for Christ is the highest glory a Christian can achieve.

Notice what the Bible says in Colossians 1:23-25, “Continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church: Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God.”

The simple truth of what Paul is saying is that the evidence of salvation is not only suffering the affliction of the Gospel, but also to continue to be a good testimony according to the power of God, or according to the power and grace God gives to those who are suffering because of the Gospel.

In verse nine, he states that the reason for all this is that He Who saved and called us did so with a holy calling; not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace Who hath saved us and called us with a 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.

In this, we see that God has given us this everlasting grace and salvation so that we might boldly maintain His glory that comes with God’s eternal purpose. We have not earned or deserved any of His grace, but it was given to us before the world began, that is even before Moses’ Law and the Old Testament prophets because the law is our schoolmaster that brought us to Christ. Actually, to be consistent with both this text and the law, it was God’s own purpose and grace that brought us undeserving sinners to Christ.

Matthew 1:21, “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” This verse says that His purpose of salvation was so certain that Matthew could speak of it as if it were already done.

What a thought! He called us with a holy calling according to Ephesians 1:1, “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:14, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” And in Hebrews 3:1, “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus.

In other words, our works had absolutely nothing to do with God’s calling us, but it was according to His own purpose and grace. 

Notice in verse ten, “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:”

God’s grace was and has always been under the old covenant, but was made manifest under the new covenant with the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ.  He literally abolished death and has delivered us from the power of death. The eternal purpose of God has always been to save sinners from their sin through the atonement of His Son, Jesus Christ.

In verse eleven, Paul gives the reason for his calling, which was to be a preacher and teacher to the Gentiles. In verse twelve, we see that this is the reason for his sufferings, “For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”

This verse is not only a great testimony of God’s purpose and grace for the Gospel, but it is also a great testimony of Paul.  It shows his own suffering and that he would not be ashamed of the cross of Christ in spite of all the afflictions that it would cause him. 

So it ought to be with every Christian that if we are certain of our salvation and that He will keep us, we, too, ought to say, “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” 

  • God’s purpose is not based upon our good or bad character.
  • The purpose and grace of God, not our performance, is the foundation of character.
  • As stated in Ephesians 1:5, it is according to the “purpose and good pleasure of His will.”

Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

The Greek word for “purpose” is in this case prothesis: a setting forth, a proposal or intention; especially the table of shew-bread in the Temple as setting before God.

God does not save us without a purpose and a plan, and when He saved us, it was for eternity.

No wonder Paul was willing to suffer for the Gospel.  As he said, “I am not ashamed; nor was he troubled because his purpose and grace is sufficient for me.”

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Hans Nikoley, GSBC Staff

Bro. Nikoley emigrated from Germany to the United States with his family at age 13. He served full time in the Nevada Air National Guard for six years. At age 32, He was saved, and in 1977, he graduated from Bible College. He pastored for over 31 years, 27 of them at Pomerado Road Baptist Church in Poway, California. Bro. Nikoley has served at Golden State Baptist College in the Bible Department and also as the Student Employment Director since 2007. He and his wife Mary have two children and have been married for 58 years.