As the apostle Paul sat waiting as a prisoner in Rome, he was conscious of the fact that his future was likely one of martyrdom. Instead of sitting idly, he wrote several letters, the last of which was the second letter to Timothy. Timothy was a young man that Paul cared for deeply. “When Timothy was little more than a boy, Paul took him with him as his companion in labor” (Manuscript, p. 117a, 1901). As Paul thought about his final moments, he desired to pass on to Timothy a legacy that he could aspire to. The letter is theologically rich and reveals some inspiring insights about Paul’s frame of mind as a follower of Jesus and a successful evangelist.
It seems as though Timothy lacked some boldness and confidence in his calling because Paul needed to reassure him that God “does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7, NIV). To press this matter further, Paul gives Timothy the ultimate foundation on which to base his sense of confidence in his calling:
“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord… but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began” (2 Timothy 1:8-9).
This may sound strange, but one of my favorite words in this passage is the word “and.” Note the language, “saved us and called us.” Timothy could take heart in the fact that God had indeed called him, in spite of his timidity and his other weaknesses. How could he be so sure of his calling? Because Paul told him to view his calling with the same assurance that he viewed his salvation.
Timothy could take heart in the fact that God had indeed called him, in spite of his timidity and his other weaknesses.
This is gospel truth. Those who are saved are automatically called. Period. It is not possible to be a Christian and not embrace some sense of calling to serve on behalf of the Lord. Salvation and calling are two sides of the same coin; you can’t have one without the other.
Are you timid about your calling? Do you lack confidence? Take heart and remember that your calling is not based on your illustrious credentials, or lack thereof. No, it is not “according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began” (2 Timothy 1:9).