November 4, 2013

{Day 4} Saved and Called: Jesus

If you're just popping in on this November series, you can catch up here.

Last we were together, I made a list of what we learn about God from 2 Timothy 1:7-10.  Today, as promised, we'll take a look at Jesus.  Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, there is something about that name, and this passage will surely give us an indication why that's the case.
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self discipline.  So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner.  But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life - not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.  This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.  2 Timothy 1:7-10

What does Paul tell us about Jesus?
1. There's something to testify to about him.  (I say this because I think 'our Lord' in v. 8 refers to Jesus.)  We could be ashamed to testify. 
2. God gave his grace in Christ Jesus, even before the beginning of time. 
3. Jesus' coming revealed the full grace of God the Father. 
4. Jesus destroyed death. 
5. Jesus brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.  (The gospel is the good news that, through Christ, we can be rescued from our sin and from the death we deserve.)

Paul packs a lot into a few sentences, doesn't he?  From what I've read, verses 8-13 (or something like that) are ONE sentence in Greek; God bless the translators who sort it out for us!

From before time began, God planned to express and deliver his grace through Jesus. God was motivated by His grace-full purposes to call His people to Himself and He chose to do that through Jesus, the Christ.  As such, Jesus has a very significant role in the saving of our lives and the calling us to live a holy life.

It is Jesus who allows us to connect with God the Father.  Jesus is the mediator between God and man.  Without Him, there's no salvation and there's no call to a new life.  At this point I want to say that if God calls Christians to a holy life, it means we're being called away from some other kind of life - the one we'd choose to live, by our own standards and plans, if God had not intervened.  As the passage above says, it is Christ who brings LIFE and immortality to light.

In Jesus we find LIFE.  Death was in charge of the world (so to speak) before Jesus came.  Then LIFE crashed in, and the landscape changed for those who believe.

When I think about it deep and hard, it's all too much for me.  What a rescue plan.  What a wonder that there was any rescue plan at all!  God expresses His grace fully through Jesus: life, death, and resurrection.  And all that to people who do not deserve it (not because of anything we've done).

What does this have to do with the holy life?

In Christ we find our motivation pursue the call to a holy life.  We not saved either to buckle down and try to get everything right on our own or do whatever we want in our freedom.  No way!  Neither of those things.  Rather we stay close to the cross and remember our salvation.  Every day we give thanks with great joy for what Christ as done to set us free.  From there, growing in holiness is a natural consequence.

Of course, we have to have an idea of what kind of life it is that God calls 'holy.'  That is the point of this month's exploration; we want to move in God's direction according to His rules.  But it all gets started with a relationship with God found only in Jesus.  No matter how long we walk with the Lord, we never outgrow our need for the gospel - that GREAT NEWS that our sins can be washed away by the blood of Jesus.

On that glorious note, this post will come to an abrupt end!  We'll resume tomorrow with a look at the Spirit.  :)

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