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Devotional - week of April 17, 2005


STRONG THROUGH GRACE

You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.  2 Timothy 2:1

Paul realized that Timothy needed to be encouraged to be strong because of his involvement in the gospel ministry. His “my son” indicates a great affection for Timothy. His “therefore” indicates that chapter one gives the reason Timothy needed to be strong.

Two times in chapter one Paul speaks of the sufferings he had endured because of his involvement in preaching the message of the gospel. He knows that since Timothy was his companion in the same work, he would experience the same sufferings.

Whatever the cause, Paul knew it was important for him to encourage Timothy to be strong. He also knew it was important for him to remind Timothy that his strength comes from the grace of God.

The thought of being strong through grace reminds us of Paul’s thorn in the flesh passage in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. Paul asked for the removal of the thorn and the Lord answered with:

"My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness."  2 Corinthians 12:9

Later in the same passage Paul writes:

I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.  2 Corinthians 12:10

Paul reminds Timothy that the grace is “in Christ Jesus.” This brings to mind Romans 6:3-13 where Paul writes of the believer’s oneness with Christ in our crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. Following his guidance in Romans 6:11-13 of how to experience these three things, Paul writes in verse 14:

For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

Grace is provided by suffering and experiencing our oneness with Christ in our crucifixion, burial, and resurrection. Both of these remove our faith in self and result in total dependence on God