THE SERVANT GENERAL
CALLED TO A HOLY LIFE
Today’s reading: 2 Timothy 1:1-3,6-12
What kind of life does God want for us? “He saved us
and called us to a holy life” (2 Tim 1:9a). God not
only won for us our salvation through Jesus’ sacrificial
death on the cross, but He wants to restore us to our full
stature as His children, made in His image and likeness, and
thus living His life of holiness and purity.
Christians today recognize Jesus’ saving deed, and proclaim
Him as Savior and Lord. But many Christians today have not
heeded the call to holiness, to be set apart for God, to live
a life on earth that prepares one to live a life eternally
in heaven. Many Christians in fact cannot be distinguished
from the non-Christians around them. The light of Christ through
them does not shine forth. They are not the salt of the earth.
we are called to a holy life, to live pure for Him. Now this
is not easy. But it is God’s will for us, and so God
will provide what is needed. God will act “according
to his own design and the grace bestowed on us in Christ Jesus”
(2 Tim 1:9c). This God has intended from all eternity, “before
time began” (2 Tim 1:9d). Before we were born, before
the universe was created, God already willed and intended
for us to be holy. That is mind-boggling. If it is that important
to God, it must be of the utmost importance to us as well.
holiness is a gift from God. It can only happen through His
grace in our lives. We do not gain it “according to
our works” (2 Tim 1:9b). We do not earn it or pay for
it. His “grace is bestowed on us in Christ Jesus”
and so it was won by Jesus on the cross who paid the price,
and now freely bestowed on us. We just need to accept. This
is very encouraging. Holiness is a very high ideal, and is
impossible for us in our fallen humanity. But since God desires
it for us, being in accordance with His eternal plan, and
He provides it freely by His grace, then we can be holy.
Now holiness is a gift that we do not earn, but we also need
to do our part. Aside from being open to the gift, we need
to predispose ourselves to become worthy recipients of the
gift. God does not force His gift on an unwilling or undeserving
this passage, Paul exhorts Timothy to fulfill his mission.
We can apply what Paul instructs to ways by which one can
more readily receive God’s gift.
we must passionately desire the gift. We must “stir
into flame the gift of God that you have” (2 Tim 1:6).
We must see God’s intent, and realize to what great
lengths God went, including sacrificing His very own Son,
in order for us to be saved and to live a life according to
His design. We must then pursue holiness. We must deliberately
and persistently desire to live pure.
we must boldly strive for the gift. “For God did not
give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love
and self-control.” (2 Tim 1:7). We must not allow fears
or doubts to deter us. We must not allow the devil to paralyze
us because of our unworthiness. God wants this life for us,
and so we must want it too. We trust that God will provide
what we need. We look to the power of God’s Holy Spirit,
who enables us to love and to practice self-control.
we must not be ashamed of the gift. “So do not be ashamed
of your testimony to our Lord” (2 Tim 1:8a). The world
is hostile to those who live the gospel. The young person
who preserves his/her virginity is subject to ridicule. The
one who tries to live a holy life is subject to contempt.
But we are precisely called not only to live pure, but to
witness to God’s grace with our pure lives. We testify
to Christ and the beauty of God’s call.
we must endure to preserve the gift. We are to “bear
your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that
comes from God.” (2 Tim 1:8b). There will be challenges.
There will be setbacks. There will be oppression and persecution.
These are part of the package that comes with the gift. We
recognize this reality, and resolve to bear our share of hardship.
And we know that we can endure through the strength that comes
even as we suffer, we are to fully trust in God. “On
this account I am suffering these things; but I am not ashamed,
for I know him in whom I have believed and am confident that
he is able to guard what has been entrusted to me until that
day.” (2 Tim 1:12). Suffering for the cause of Christ
is redemptive. It is purifying. It draws us closer to God
and deeper in our relationship with Him. As such, suffering
is also a gift. This was the very way of Jesus. We are privileged
to walk in his way.
Holiness is “the will of God for the promise of life
in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim 1:1) for all of us. A life of
holiness is the key to receiving “grace, mercy, and
peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord”
(2 Tim 1:2).