2 Timothy 2 DT 9.8.08 by Kelly Kang (Gracepoint Fellowship Church – Berkeley):
1You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
In the past when I read this chapter, I would quickly gloss over v.1 and go straight to vv.3-7 where it challenges believers to endure like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. But this time around I had to pause on v.1, particularly the phrase “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” Maybe it’s because I’m getting older or because my responsibilities in this ministry are growing. The thought that I can be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus was reassuring.
What does it mean to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus? How does one derive strength from God’s grace that actually makes a difference in the day to day details of life? I thought about why I often feel weak. It’s usually not because of physical reasons but emotional and spiritual reasons. I feel weak when I’m burdened by the weight of my sin or the weight of other people’s sin. I feel weak when I feel disconnected from God and others. I feel weak when there is unresolved tension in my life. I feel weak when I am anxious and worried about some situation or someone. I feel weak when there is some crisis in my life that I don’t know what to do with. I feel weak when I’ve made a mistake of some sort and I’m having to face the consequences of my mistake.
In all of these things, what I need before anything else, is to get in touch with God’s grace-His forgiving acceptance of me and others.
Who are the people that can experience strength from the grace that is in Christ Jesus?
For starters, it’s people who are not looking to be strong through other things. Many want to be strong in competence. Some want to be strong in terms of popularity. Some want to be strong in terms of having a perfect record with no mistakes in whatever they are doing. Some want to be strong in being successful in whatever they are doing. Some want to be strong in terms of wealth. As long as we are trying to be strong in something else, we will not experience strength from God’s grace.
Secondly, it’s someone who has a deep conviction of his own sinfulness. The fact that I am a sinner that was condemned to hell and now I have been saved by the grace of God, the fact that I don’t need to fear death and hell, the fact that my life is set in terms of my eternity – these provide real strength. How? It delivers me from fear of failure and rejection which I think by far are the greatest of people’s fears that drive people to compensate by trying to be strong in some arena. To know that I am loved unconditionally helps me rest in God’s love for me and relieves me from all kinds of anxiety.
The Gospel is indeed good news since the condition for experiencing strength from the grace that is in Christ Jesus is to be weak.