AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH
January 23, 2005
GOVERNMENT BY GRACE
II Timothy 1:8-12
I EXCISION - II Tim. 1:8
Paul is in prison for the Gospel, and exhorts Timothy to share such sufferings, and not be ashamed: for it is according to the call and power of God that it is so happening. There is need for removal of false shame, social pride in distress, carnal fear in multiplication of trouble: for if you are going to be a servant of a man who though God in human form, was crucified by the court of this world, then what do you expect ? Justice is not to be tampered with, truth is indispensable, so that only love in mercy could act; and it has acted. In this, love is to have full place and not follow the empty dreams of this callow world. Subtract, remove, excise the cancer of self-pre-occupation and get on with the work of the Gospel. Therefore be active in His kingdom, but do not be ashamed.
II PREVISION AND PROVISION - II Tim. 1:9
It is according to the power of God that this occurs, the very Lord who has
a) saved us and
b) called us with a holy calling, so that in nothing is there doubt, or uncertainty, and
c) done this not in terms of anything we have done or can do, but
d) according to His own purpose and grace.
GRACE is what is behind it, undeserved kindness; and His purpose is that anyone who believes should not perish ever, but have a life which is eternal, unending, that never fades away, reserved in heaven for you, as I Peter 1 puts it. In this purpose is love, and of this purpose is grace, like the moss on the ground where the waterfall clouds nearby.
As to this godly purpose and grace, this same Lord has saved us and
e) done this before the world began. History works it out; divine holiness put it in!
Time contributes not to the decision of the Lord, nor does it hold His determination, but merely shows it. BEFORE TIME, He has chosen His own, so that the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal word of God, shown on earth, is that very grace operative before time; and as He lamented for the folly of Jerusalem which did not know the time of its opportunity, to receive its Saviour (Luke 19:42ff.), so is His heart moved that all might be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth (I Timothy 2:1ff., Colossians 1:19ff.). It is not WHEN the salvation decision of God is made that really matters, but HOW. Since it was in the interests of grace and love and mercy, then such is the nature of it, and this divine gift before all time simply ensures that none who might be saved, will in fact be lost. No circumstance can sink you, and no catastrophe can foul your future; for in God, who knows and even declares the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10), there is complete certainty. Those who are His, stay His, and those who come in repentance and faith, do not go: HE keeps them, and His Father guarantees it (John 10:27-28).
Does this mean that a person need not close with Christ, receive Him as a repentant sinner, so that the work of salvation is imparted ? Of course not, for did not God know your heart from the first, and if this is to be it, did He not know to what in the very face of His light, you would incline! It is, then, just as presumptuous to assume that all will be well and not to bother when you do NOT know Christ, as it is to doubt whether all is well when you DO! After all, as we have just seen, God has SAVED and called us who believe in Jesus Christ according to the Gospel, with a holy calling, all done before all time, so that to believe is to have eternal life as John declares (I John 5:11-13). “He who has the Son has life,” says John in these verses; and he writes so “that you who believe in the name of the Son of God may know that they have eternal life.”
III VISION VERIFIED - II Tim. 1:10
These things before time have been revealed in time, and we have been treated to the very sight of the living God in the face of Christ Jesus (II Corinthians 4:4), who acted - yes, who "has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel". This heavenly vision is thus now an earthly proclamation, for on earth it has been done. Death is no more the destiny to await, but the change of the resurrection, when the toils of history are done, as in I Corinthians 15:50ff.. On this earth, "He made Him to be sin, who knew no sin, so that He might become the righteousness of God in Him" - II Cor. 5:21. That happened on the Cross. That is to say, Christ became a sin offering and in being so sacrificed, became the butt of justice, receiving the just judgment due to us, that we might for our own part, receive what He has to offer, namely perfect right standing with God, Himself OUR cover!
Note the abolition of death - the most pleasant of words. America tried to abolish strong drink many decades ago, and failed; God's plan to abolish death has prevailed, and when the time is finished, the results accrue. Immortality - what a glorious name, inability to die! Of all the inabilities, this is as great as any! Just as the body goes to the earth, and the spirit to God who made it (as Ecclesiastes clearly declares in 12:7), so when Christ returns, then the spirits of all who are His are clothed over again (II Cor. 5) with the same power with which God created mankind in the first place.
IV VICTORY II Tim. 1:11-12
To this Gospel, Paul is appointed a preacher, and of it a teacher.
That is why he suffers these things, and to return to being ashamed, HE is not ashamed! Indeed, he knows his place, he knows his calling by grace according to the divine purpose, and he is persuaded that the God who called him can keep what he has committed to Him, secure that even at judgment day itself, he will be as covered then as now, freed from all condemnation (Romans 8:1), accepted in the beloved (Ephesians 1:6) who has given His life for His sheep. These know Him, follow Him, and to them He has given eternal life (John 10:9,27-28), so that NEVER do they perish and NONE can take them from the Father’s hand. Here is victory, not in slaying soldiers, but in knowing the Lamb who was slain according to the everlasting Gospel, and having the power of His resurrection in your life until He comes.