… (God) has saved us and called us to a holy life – not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Saviour, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. (verses 9-10)
I can’t quite pinpoint the moment when I came to faith in Jesus. Mom and Dad were true believers – they were alive in faith and lived it in every aspect of their lives. Theirs was not a Sunday-only faith, nor was it simply skin-deep. They really believed. They were deeply committed. They loved Jesus.
So, that was the atmosphere in which I was nurtured. By the time I was old enough to understand, I had already embraced the faith that was modelled for me. It was the air I breathed. Oh, I have certainly needed to make it my own (many times over) ever since. But I stepped into true faith so early I can’t remember.
Paul’s young friend – my name-sake – Timothy, had a similar background. He first experienced faith through his grandmother Lois and mother Eunice. But Paul calls him “my true son in the faith”(1 Timothy 1:2), so it seems likely that Timothy’s own faith came alive at a stage later than me, when he came under the teaching and influence of the Apostle himself. But we don’t know for sure.
Yet what we do know for sure – both Timothy and I – is that it wasn’t first and foremost our own doing. No. Not at all. It turns out that it was all actually God’s own plan, hatched “before the beginning of time.” That’s the timeframe. That’s when grace was given us in Christ Jesus. Wow. Phenomenal!
And of course, the same is true for anyone who has received salvation. It’s “not because of anything we have done.” Rather it is as a result of God’s own purposeful choice and the outpouring of his own grace, which is a bestowal of blessing we could never earn ourselves but is freely given by our Lord.
How astonishing that God’s decision was made – and the gift given – long before any of us were even on the scene. Indeed, before time began, from all eternity.
This runs us straight into the mystery of God’s sovereignty and human will. It’s clear from Scripture that salvation needs to be individually received – it comes to “whoever believes in him” (John 3:16). We need to engage our own will. But the timing of salvation stretches all the way back into eternity past and God’s own choice.
It awaited the coming of our Saviour – Jesus – to become clear. He destroyed death and brought us life eternal, calling us forth into its fullness as powerfully as he did Lazarus from that stone-cold tomb.
So, praise his name. God has saved us. He himself made the choice. Grace has been given. By grace we have believed. Death has been overturned. And so, we have experienced the gift of new life that could only come through Christ Jesus our Saviour.
Father, in wonder I thank you that before I was able to even understand, you chose me. Before I ever existed, you extended grace toward me. Praise your name.
Lord Jesus, in wonder I thank you that you have destroyed death and brought me into fullness of life in you. All through your cross. Praise your name.
And Holy Spirit, I ask you to reveal the light of the glory of this gospel more and more fully in my inner being, that Christ may dwell in my heart through faith. To his glory. Amen.
Reflect: Take time to soak in the wonder of God’s choice. Reflect on the extent of his amazing grace. Put into words your own thanksgiving.