2 Timothy 2:1
The apostle founds upon the foregoing examples and warnings an admonition to Christian firmness and courage.

I. THE NEED OF SPIRITUAL STRENGTH. "Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus."

1. Strength was necessary to meet the difficulties and dangers of his official life at Ephesus.

2. The admonition was probably needed on account of the discouragements which Timothy himself must have felt at the conduct of the Asiatic deserters.

3. Strength is the spring of happy activity in any sphere. "The joy of the Lord shall be your strength."

II. THE SOURCE OF THIS SPIRITUAL STRENGTH. "The grace that is in Christ Jesus." It seems strange to say, "Be strong," to a spiritually discouraged man, as it would be strange to say the same thing to a physically weak man. The injunction is reasonable, however, when we consider that the source of our renewed power is at hand. The grace of Christ is the inward power which enables us "to will and to do of his good pleasure." "Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might" (Ephesians 6:10). Here lies the true source of our strength. The apostle declared he could do all things through Christ who strengthened him. - T.C.







Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
Οὐν points back to the defection of others, contrasting it with what St. Paul is satisfied will prove The faithfulness of Timothy.

(H. R. Reynolds, D. D.)

It is as though he said, Imitate the one loyal follower (Onesiphorus), and make up to me for the faithless conduct of so many false friends.

(H. D. M. Spence, M. A.)

Steven Gerard once told a poor cartman to purchase a cargo of sugar, promising to back him. From that moment the cartman's wisdom and credit were equal to Gerard's, for Gerard was his. If the cartman had forgotten his wise, rich friend, and acted on his own judgment and credit, he would have been weak again, and as foolish as weak. The cartman alone was nothing without wisdom or credit, but the cartman and Gerard were strong. Our strength is in partnership with Christ. Christians strong in Christ Jesus: —

I. CONSIDER THE DUTY INCUMBENT ON ALL WHO HAVE A MIND FOR HEAVEN, NAMELY, TO BE STRONG. What is it to be strong in the sense of the text? It presupposeth one thing, namely, they must be spiritually alive. To be strong imports three things.

1. To be ready for action, according to the difficulties you may meet with in your way.

2. That you be resolved. Thus David exhorts Solomon, "Take heed now," said he, "for the Lord hath chosen thee, to build an house for the sanctuary: be strong and do it." That is, be fully resolved and peremptory, so as not to be diverted by any emerging difficulties.

3. That you be of good courage.What need is there to be strong?

1. You have much work before you. The work of your own salvation is upon your hand (Philippians 2:12). You have also to serve your generation, by the will of God.

2. You will meet with much opposition in your work. I now proceed —

II. TO CONSIDER THE DIRECTION, NAMELY, THAT THOSE WHO WOULD BE STRONG, MUST BE STRONG IN THE GRACE THAT IS IN CHRIST JESUS. What is the grace that is in Christ Jesus?

1. Relative grace, that is the free favour of God to poor sinners, by which they are embraced in the arms of His love unto salvation.

2. Real grace, that is the fulness of the Spirit, and His graces, lodged in Jesus Christ, as the fountain and head of influences, from which they are to be derived, into all His members. "For it hath pleased the Father, that in Him should all fulness dwell. And out of His fulness have all we received, and grace for grace."What is it to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus?

1. It is to be animated to duty by the faith of that grace that is in Christ Jesus for us, both relative and real.

2. It is to be strengthened to duty by supplies of grace derived from Christ Jesus by faith.Why must those that would be strong be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus?

1. Because all those that would be strong must be strong as members of Christ, as branches of the vine.

2. Because the grace that is in Christ Jesus is only sufficient to bear us through.

(H. Boston, D. D.)

I. MULTIPLICITY OF ARGUMENTS SHOULD PROVOKE TO OBEDIENCE. "Thou, therefore."

II. MEN REGARD THOSE MOST WHO ARE THE LIKEST MINDED TO THEMSELVES. "My son."

III. STRENGTH OF GRACE IS NECESSARY FOR A CHRISTIAN.

1. Comeliness pleads for it. For is not Christ the root, we the branches? He the foundation, we the building? Our head, and we His members? And betwixt these ought there not to be an analogy, a just proportion, otherwise, would it not be unseemly? Should one finger stand still, would we not repute it a blemish? and shall we not do the same in this mystical body?

2. Necessity requires it. We must fast, watch, and pray, fight with principalities, powers, and spiritual enemies, which are in high places. And will not crosses come, thick and threefold — temptations, desertions, sickness, and death, too? What can or will do these, suffer these things, anything but strength of grace, spiritual power? What manner of men ought ministers to be, thundering in preaching, fervent in prayer, shining in life, burning in spirit? And what is necessary for a preacher is required of every Christian, strength of grace. Strength is tried —(1) In prosperity: art thou humble in thine own eyes? Is thy heart, with the remembrance of the Lord's mercies, made hot? and is it thy greatest care, how to promote his glory? When the rain falls, the waters swell: the sun shines, the sweetest flowers smell the spring approacheth, all creatures revive. So when grace grows, our joy is full; our mouths are trumpets sounding aloud, and every member of the body is an active instrument, a never-wearied agent to fight the battles, and finish the great works of our Lord and Master. A willow bows with a small blast: an oak endures, stands upright in a storm.(2) In adversity: art thou patient? etc. The horse neighs at the trumpet; the leviathan laughs at the spear: so a strong man in grace, slights crosses, etc.Helps to grow strong in grace.

1. Hast thou, in thy apprehension some seed of sanctification? then seriously think of it, highly esteem of it, and bless thou the Lord for it.

2. Resolve with thyself the highest period of grace, whereof a created nature is capable. Scholars aim at the highest degree; citizens, at the most honourable office; and all tradesmen, at the increase of goods: so should weak Christians to be rich in the grace of God: strong in the Lord.

3. Add to these two, practice: exercise thy talent; put it forth, for Thy own, and thy Master's advantage. Is it not written that many acts produce an habit, and to him that hath shall be given?

4. Neglect no means whereby grace is begun, or increased.

IV. ALL GRACE IS FROM CHRIST JESUS. Whether we consider the beginning, kinds, or degrees; all grace is in Him, and by Him. Is it not written, that Christ ascended on high; gave gifts unto men? Of His fulness, are we not said to receive grace for grace? that is of all the kinds which are in the Head, the same be derived to His members.

(J. Barlow, D. D.)

I. MORAL ENERGY A DIVINE GIFT. This verse deals with the great motive power of the Christian religion, what imparts inward strength to frail humanity. Much besides is, so to speak, machinery, and this — the grace of Christ, is the steam, the driving force, without which the most perfect machinery is useless. Paul enjoins Timothy to obtain this force, this inward energy of the soul; and by calling it "grace" the apostle teaches that it is not like the unconscious forces of nature — the power of wind, or water, or fire, or gravity-which human skill can have at command and direct; but a power of a different, a spiritual order, and bestowed on other conditions. For it flows from the grace or kindness of God, and it is, therefore, called "grace," just as an act prompted by kindness is called a kindness, and the same with a favour.

II. CHRIST THE SOURCE OF MORAL ENERGY. The Christian faith is that the Lord Jesus Christ is the fountain of all power, and the tire of all love, dwelling in the heart, as well as in heaven: "Who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, sanctification, and redemption." That is the faith of Christ; and it cannot be said of it that it is a weak, unsubstantial, and merely sentimental religion. It is based on the most sublime facts, for which it offers appropriate evidence; and the power of those facts to arrest, attract, rivet, and renew the hearts of weak and sinful men, and awaken in them an enthusiasm of trust, and gratitude, and devotion — the history of our religion for eighteen hundred years must declare, for no mere language can.

III. THE COMMAND TO BE STRONG IN CHRIST. It is very characteristic of Scripture, and of its close conformity to human nature, even in its problems, that this great central thought, of the Divine source of moral energy, should be put into the form of a command to be obeyed — an injunction, for the observance of which man is responsible. It is not said to us, "Lie helpless till the Divine energy of Christ flows into your soul"; but, "Be inwardly strengthened in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." "I charge you to become empowered with that energy." Such is our strange life, our mysterious nature. Dependent on God yet responsible to Him! "It is God that worketh in you." "Work out your own salvation." "I, yet not I," says Paul. "By grace ye are saved" and healed; and this grace has its centre and fount in Christ. But it is your duty to have much of it.

(T. M. Herbert, M. A.)

Luther relates concerning one Staupicius, a German divine, that he acknowledged that before he came to understand the free and powerful grace of Christ, he resolved and vowed a hundred times against a particular sin; yet could never get power over it, nor his heart purified from it, till he came to see that he trusted too much to his own resolutions, and too little to Jesus Christ; but when his faith had engaged against his sin, he obtained the victory.

(J. L. Nye.)

We are His "servants." A master does more than engage a servant: he also gives him the means whereby he may work. The tradesman does not put his servants into a shop wherein there are no goods to sell; the farmer does not send his servants into the field without plough, harrow, or spade; the surgeon does not withhold drugs; nor the lawyer parchment and pens from his servant. It is even so with our great Master. He calls us to work, and, if we ask Him, He will qualify us for it.

(T. R. Stevenson.)

A certain alchemist who waited upon Leo X. declared that he had discovered how to transmute the baser metals into gold. He expected to receive a sum of money for his discovery, but Leo was no such simpleton; he merely gave him a huge purse in which to keep the gold which he would make. There was wisdom as well as sarcasm in the present. That is precisely what God does with proud men, he lets them have the opportunity to do what they boasted of being able to do. I never heard that so much as a solitary gold piece was dropped into Leo's purse, and I am sure you will never be spiritually rich by what you can do in your own strength. Be stripped, brother, and then God may be pleased to clothe you with honour, but not till then.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

When Wingfield expressed his pity for Kirby, who was condemned to die for the truth, the undaunted martyr replied, "Fire, water, and sword are in His hands, who will not suffer them to separate me from Him." Here was power from on high perfected in human weakness. Nor was it less manifested in another who exclaimed, "If every hair on my head were a man, they should suffer death in the faith in which I now stand." It was in the exhaustion of age, and after long imprisonment, hardship, and ill treatment, that Latimer, when brought out to be burnt at Oxford, lifted his wrinkled hands towards heaven, and cried, "O God, I thank Thee that Thou hast reserved me to die this death."

(C. Graham.)

In travelling through the West of England, you come ever and anon upon large tracts of country, bleak, barren, and desolate; no tree, no flower, no blade of grass, no habitation of man. In these wild and dreary wastes you find proofs in abundance that the spots were not always desert. The deep, black, yawning shaft of many a mine; the broken or decaying timbers which still stand around, or over the mouth of those mines; the remains of cottages; all, all tell you that the place was not always a wilderness. But the mines have been rifled of their treasures, the last vein has been opened, the last bucket of precious ore has been drawn up to the surface of the ground; there is nothing more to be gotten from the once rich earth; and so the miners have all departed to seek a supply elsewhere. Now, as you stand there, in that solitude and desolation, hearing no more the miner's song, and missing the busy hum of labour, which perhaps years before had greeted you as you walked over those Cornish lands, you can scarcely help contrasting those empty mines with that ever rich and overflowing treasury of blessing which a gracious God has opened to all His people in Jesus Christ.

(A. C. Price, B. A.)

On an occasion of great drought, which the rain-makers attributed to the missionaries, a Bechuana chief with twelve spears came to command Robert Moffat to leave the territory on pain of death; but he said, "You may shed my blood, you may burn my dwelling; but my decision is made: I do not leave your country." And the cause of all this was his faith. He was a man of wonderful faith; he believed the Gospel was the power of God unto salvation, through faith in Christ Jesus. He felt that his Master was ever as near to him, and as full of love, as the wife of his bosom; he felt that Christ must reign until He should put all things beneath His feet; and just because he was so strong in faith, he was so strong altogether.

(J. C. Harrison.)

(vers. 1-7): — In these seven verses I see —

I. THE APOSTLE ENUMERATING THE SORT OF LABOURS AND SUFFERINGS WHICH HIS YOUNG DISCIPLE TIMOTHY WOULD HAVE TO ENDURE.

II. THE GRACE WHICH IS SUGGESTED TO TIMOTHY AS SUFFICIENT TO SUPPORT HIM.

(D. Wilson, M. A.)

I. THE EXTENT OF THIS CALLING (vers. 1-7). Presented under figures

1. Of the soldier.

2. Of the athlete.

3. Of the husbandman.

II. MOTIVES FOR THE EXERCISE OF THIS CALLING (vers. 8-13).

1. A look backwards (ver. 8).

2. A look around about one (vers. 9, 10).

3. A look orwards (vers. 11-13).

(Van Oosterzee.)

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