2 Timothy 2:1, “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”
I have often wondered how one goes about being strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. Then I realized that it is not strength to gain but strength obtained. What was it about the Old Testament prophets that caused them to be strong in the Lord? What was it that kept Noah going in the building of the Ark, Moses in wandering through the wilderness for forty years, David in his love for God, and Abraham in his friendship with God? What was it that caused Stephen to be faithful to his Lord as he was being stoned to death? Acts 7:59, “And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Where did these great and faithful men get their courage and strength?
Time and again, we see verses in the Old Testament that appear to teach that God’s grace is something to be found. In Genesis 6:8, the Bible says, “Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.” The Hebrew word for found or find is “matsa,” meaning to find or acquire.
In Genesis 19:19, even Lot, pleading with the angels to spare Zoar so that he could live near destroyed Sodom, said, “Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life;”
Jacob, speaking to his estranged brother Esau said in Genesis 33:10, “I pray thee, if now I have found grace in thy sight, then receive my present at my hand: for therefore I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me.”
In Genesis 39:4, Joseph found grace in the sight of Pharaoh, “And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand.”
Later, Joseph’s brothers said to Joseph, “Thou hast saved our lives: let us find grace in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh’s servants” in Genesis 47:25.
In Exodus 33:12, we read, “And Moses said unto the LORD, See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me. Yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight.”
In the Old Testament, found or find grace is used many times, but it is found only once in the New Testament in Hebrews 4:16: “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
The Greek word Heurisko means the same as its Hebrew language counterpart: “to find, to have or obtain.” If these verses and many others tell us anything, it is that God’s grace appears to be found; yet we understand that it is a free gift.
What did Paul mean when he told Timothy, “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus?”
I believe he brings to a conclusion what he taught in 1 Timothy by saying, “Now that you have learned these things and found that you have all the power you need through Christ, find your strength in the gift of the grace of God. Ephesians 3:7, “Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.”
That is exactly what God is saying to us; we, too, have all the strength of Christ available to us for the asking, and all we have to do is “find our strength in this gift of the grace of God.” We are not to waste what God has graciously given us nor keep it to ourselves. We must use it for the benefit of the Gospel and for others so that they too may be partakers of this grace.
There are several lessons here for all Christians:
- God’s grace is a gift.
- All of us need the gift of the grace of God for courage.
- Our strength lies in Christ and not in ourselves.
- We must act upon His grace to experience inner strength.
I believe strength is a gift to be found or one made available to us to find and claim according to 2 Timothy 1:7: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
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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.
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