“The law works fear and wrath; grace works hope and mercy.” ~ Luther
No one likes to suffer or be persecuted in any way, let alone for their beliefs. But it is a fact that if you choose to put your faith in Jesus Christ, you will align yourself against this world and the way it thinks. And, if you choose to be like Christ and proclaim the Gospel truth, this world will come against you with all its force. But… you are not alone. This was the promise that Paul wanted Timothy to grasp as a young man who desired to reach others with the truth of God. Paul writes, “So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord or about me His prisoner, but with me take your share of suffering for the gospel [continue to preach regardless of the circumstances], in accordance with the power of God [for His power is invincible]… (2 Tim 1:8) Do you see the promise that enables us to press on? God is the One who is sovereign over all things and we can operate, by faith, in accordance with His invincible power. Does that straighten your backbone some, causing you to stand a little taller for the truth?
But that’s not all! Paul goes on to describe this promise in greater detail, “for He delivered us and saved us and called us with a holy calling [a calling that leads to a consecrated life–a life set apart–a life of purpose], not because of our works [or because of any personal merit–we could do nothing to earn this], but because of His own purpose and grace [His amazing, undeserved favor] which was granted to us in Christ Jesus before the world began [eternal ages ago],” (2 Tim 1:9). Do you see that God is not relying on our works or reason? He is bringing a new purpose to your life and infusing us with the purpose, works, and power that we see played out in His unique Son, Jesus Christ. And all of this is driven by His grace… that undeserved kindness of God that is His gift to man the moment he understands he is unworthy of God’s favor (moody). “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard (of Holiness). Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.” (Rom 3:23-24) His amazing grace floods our lives the moment we first believe. It sets about transforming our sinfulness into righteousness through the cauldron of suffering because that’s what it takes to refine character to the level of ‘God’s glorious standard of Holiness.’ Regardless of its pain, and because we have come to understand The Truth of God’s Word, we… like Paul and Timothy, willingly ‘join in the suffering for the Gospel according to the God’s invincible power!’ We do this because now, instead of seeing the suffering, our eyes are fixed on the Hope of Heaven and an eternity with the One who dearly loves us with all His Heart.
Praying you choose Jesus today
Written by David Brown: David Brown is a husband, father, and grandfather with a Masters of Religious Studies and a Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Religions. Dave is a member of Pemberton’s First Baptist Church.
Daily Quote: “The apostles went away rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for the name of Christ, that they were graced so far as to be disgraced for the name of Christ!” – Thomas Watson
This Week’s Verse to Memorize:
Praise the Lord! Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Psalm 106:1