2 Timothy 1:9-11
Who has saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace…
He now proceeds to expound in a glorious sentence the origin, conditions, manifestations of the salvation provided in the gospel.
I. THE MANNER IN WHICH THE POWER OF GOD HAS BEEN DISPLAYED TOWARD US. "Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began."
1. The power of God has been displayed toward us in salvation. God is the Author of salvation in its most comprehensive sense, as including both its impetration and its application. The salvation may be said to precede the calling, as
(1) it has its origin in the "purpose of God,"
(2) as Christ has procured it by his death.
2. It has been displayed in our calling.
(1) The call is the act of the Father (Galatians 1:6).
(2) It is a "holy calling,"
(a) as its Author is holy;
(b) it is a call to holiness;
(c) the called are enabled to live holy lives.
3. The principle or condition of our salvation. "Not according to our works."
(1) Negatively. Works are not
(a) the moving cause of it, which is the love and favour of God (John 3:16);
(b) nor are they the procuring cause, which is the obedience and death of Christ (Romans 3:21-26);
(c) nor do they help in the application of salvation; for works done before our calling are not good, being without fairly; and works done after it are the fruits of our calling, and therefore not the cause of it.
(2) Positively. "But according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ before the world began." Salvation has thus a double aspect.
(a) It is "according to the purpose of God." It is a gift from eternity; for it was "before the world began," and therefore it was not dependent upon man's works.
(b) It is according to "his grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began." Though those to whom it was given were not in existence, they existed in Christ as the covenant Head and Representative of his people. They were chosen in him (Ephesians 1:4).
II. THE MANIFESTATION OF THIS PURPOSE AND GRACE IN THE INCARNATION AND WORK OF CHRIST. "But manifested now by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ."
1. The nature of this manifestation. It included
(1) the Incarnation; for the Son of God appeared in the fulness of time to make known the "mystery hid from ages," even himself - "the Hope of glory" - to both Jew and Gentile;
(2) the work of Christ, in the obedience of his life and the suffering of his death - in a word, the whole work of redemption.
2. The effects of this manifestation. "Who abolished death, and brought to light life and incorruptibility by means of the gospel."
(1) Its action upon death. It has abolished or made it of none effect. Death is regarded both in its physical and its ethical aspects.
(a) In its physical aspects, Christ has
(α) deprived it of its sting, and made it a blessing to believers (Hebrews 2:14; 1 Corinthians 15:55), and (β) secured its ultimate abolition (Revelation 21:4).
(b) In its ethical aspects, as working through a law of sin and death, Christ has caused us "to pass from death unto life" in regeneration (1 John 3:14), and secured us from "the second death" (Revelation 2:11).
(2) Its revelation of life and incorruptibility.
(a) Life here is the true life, over which death has no power - the new and blessed life of the Spirit. This was, in a sense, known to the Old Testament saints; but Christ exhibited it, in its resurrection aspect, after he rose from the dead. It was in virtue of his resurrection, indeed, that the saints of the old economy had life at all. But they did not see it as we see it.
(b) Incorruptibility. Not in reference to the risen body, but to the life of the soul, in its imperishable qualities, in its perfect exemption from death (1 Peter 1:4; Revelation 21:4).
(c) The means of this revelation is the gospel, which makes this life perfectly known to men, as to its nature, as to the way into it, as to the persons for whom it is prepared or designed.
III. THE CONNECTION OF THE APOSTLE WITH THIS REVELATION OF LIFE. "For which I was appointed a herald and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles." He rehearses his titles of dignity at the very time that he points to them as entailing suffering upon him. - T.C.
Parallel VersesKJV: Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,