strengthened by grace

What would you say to the person who abused you, attacked you, humiliated you? How would you respond? How do you deal with the ordinary, day-to-day hardships and crud of this world? The kids, or your parents, the teacher, the boss, the neighbor, pluck your last nerve. How will you get through this?

Paul wrote to Timothy, “Be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 2:1).” Paul was in prison, facing execution, and he was passing the baton of leadership on to Timothy. Timothy would have to deal with Roman guards, lost people who didn’t know Christ, and church family (who can be difficult to get along with, right?) It would be tough for Timothy to carry on, without Paul, his trusted mentor, friend, and father-in-the-faith. He was young and “wet behind the ears.” He had a weak stomach. How was he going to cope and manage? Paul wanted him to be ready: “Be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”

He spoke of this grace earlier, in 2 Timothy 1:9-10 when he reminded him about God, “Who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” This amazing grace, this saving grace, this marvelous, abounding, and matchless grace, was undeserved and unmerited, and was given to him through Christ, who died for his sin. Jesus rose from the grave and appeared and won the victory over death; He gave Timothy life and immortality. This is the power of the gospel, the good news of Jesus. This is the grace that Timothy must take hold of, to strengthen him for any situation he might face. This is the grace you must take hold of, to be strengthened when you’re on your last leg and can’t stand any more.

God is the only God of grace. God, through Christ, is the only place you’ll find grace to be strengthened in this world. He sits on the throne of grace, and we can draw near to Him with confidence, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16). We grab hold of this grace in the desert places. When the country singer Granger Smith lost his 4 year old son in a drowning accident, he asked God for grace. When Toby Keith battled stomach cancer, he asked God for grace. When Corrie ten Boom was confronted by the Nazi soldier who guarded her and asked her for forgiveness, she asked God for grace. It is only by the grace of Jesus that we can be strengthened to do the impossible. It is only by the grace of Jesus that we can be strengthened to do what is necessary.