The Saving Work of Christ

“Our Savior Jesus Christ, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel…” (v. 10).

- 2 Timothy 1:10–12a

The spirit of power, love, and self-control given to us upon our conversion is none other than God’s Spirit Himself, and because of this inestimable gift we have no reason to be ashamed of the gospel (2 Tim. 1:7–8). Without God’s Spirit we would by no means see it as an honor to suffer for the sake of Jesus, but the ability to endure does not rest on our own works but on the gracious enabling of the Holy Spirit. Our Creator’s choice to save us was not based on any of our own good deeds (v. 9); similarly, the assurance that we who truly belong to Him will stand for Christ is based finally on the promise of God (Phil. 2:12–13).

Scripture reveals that our Father not only saves us from something — His wrath — He also saves us for something. In predestining His people to salvation “before the ages began,” God likewise called us to holiness (2 Tim. 1:9). This holiness comes only through the gospel, as Paul explains in today’s passage.

Even though we are called to be holy citizens of Christ’s kingdom, this kingdom was not clearly manifested until His incarnation (v. 10). In other words, the life, death, and resurrection of the God-man has shown us the Creator’s grace with clarity. He defeated death and sin was condemned in His flesh so that it might no longer have any claim over us. Thus He brought us life, being raised to grant us a share in eternal life and to give us the inclination to pursue righteousness (Rom. 6:5–11; 8:1–4). This is a truth worth suffering for, even to the death.

Paul’s entire ministry manifested this conviction, as he was never ashamed to be in chains for the gospel (vv. 11–12a). Jesus appointed Paul as “a preacher and apostle and teacher” (v. 11), revealing the extent of suffering that would accompany his calling (Acts 9:16). The apostle confidently embraced the glory of the gospel and the greatness of His Savior, enabling him to overcome any fear he may have had of what mere men could do to him. If we throw ourselves wholly into the cause of Christ, the same will be true of us. Matthew Henry says, “No man needs to be afraid nor ashamed to suffer for the cause of the gospel. Good men often suffer many things for the best cause in the world. They need not be ashamed, the cause will bear them out.”

Coram Deo

The longer we have been Christians, the easier it is to take the glory of the gospel for granted. When we consider that the holy God chose to redeem His people (who are not holy), we should be on our knees praising Him and vowing to serve Him in all things. Were we to think on the mercy of our Lord more often, we would be far less likely to find ourselves ashamed of the gospel and far more willing and able to endure rejection for His sake.

Passages for Further Study

Psalm 118:14–18
Revelation 7:9–17

First published in Tabletalk Magazine, an outreach of Ligonier. For permissions, view our Copyright Policy.