By Pastor Lee Hemen
August 18, 2008
You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 2:1)
God’s grace is not something the believer has to worry about as far as their salvation is concerned. As a strong Calvinistic Baptist I never worry about my standing with the Lord as far as eternal security is concerned. If He has chosen you, you realize it and it is settled. However, there are those that can misunderstand what it means to “be strong in the grace that is in Jesus Christ.” Paul wanted Timothy not to take for granted the favor of God. Grace is undeserved on our part. That is what makes grace, well… grace. There is nothing you can do to earn it yet there is a responsibility on the recipient’s part to continue in and develop the grace that God has so graciously extended to you through His Son Jesus. It is like being a child. You will always be the child of your parents and you had no choice in the matter. Even if you do something that causes your parents to grieve over your actions, you are always their child, and if they are gracious parents they still love you no matter what you have done. They may not like what you have done, but they love you because you are their child.
I have discovered this for myself in a very startling way when I was watching, years ago, the media interview the mother of the serial murderer Ted Bundy. She was a devout Christian. She was asked if she still loved her son. Her response made me pause and then realize what the grace of God is all about. I do not remember the exact words, but it went something like this: “Of course I love my son,” she responded. “He is my son always, no matter what he did. I do not condone what he did and I grieve as a mother over his actions that have caused so much grief for so many families. But I love my son.” At first, in my human worldly opinion I wanted to yell, “WHAT? You love a killer and fiend like that?” Then I remembered who she was. A mother who raised a little boy not as a murderer, but as her son. A son she loved, protected, and cared for. He chose to do the evil he did. She did not and would never have chosen for him the outcome of his life nor to make him be the person he was. In fact, far from it. She dearly loved Ted and desired only the best for his life, but he willingly chose his ungodly lifestyle. This was sobering for me. It made me look very closely at my life before the Lord. The grace He extended to me as one of His children. And then the words of Paul seemed to make a lot more sense.
There is an old adage that states, “But for the grace of God go I.” This is what Paul was trying to relate to Timothy who struggled in the grace he already enjoyed in the Lord. It is our choice daily to “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” or not. We can live weak lives in Christ or we can be strong in His grace that He has given us. Now, dear Child of the Lord, are you being strong in the grace of Christ Jesus? His love and mercy in your life is totally undeserved by you, however, if you know Him and have come to know His grace, then you need to be strong in His grace.
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