“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, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel.” 2 Timothy 2:9–10

There are many striking truths borne out in 2 Timothy 1. One truth is the cooperation between the Persons of the Trinity in the believer’s salvation. 2 Timothy 1:7 and 1:12 talk of the work of the Holy Spirit as the agent of our salvation. Genuine, saving faith is His gift and by virtue of His indwelling presence and ongoing ministry, every believer has the advantage of His power, love and soundness of mind. His ministry within every believer activates the Word of God, both as a pattern to firmly hold within, and “Good News” to hold forth to a lost world.

The Father’s role is explained in 2 Timothy 1:9. It is His power in our salvation that is focused upon. The verb “saved” is in the aorist tense showing the punctiliar aspect of your salvation. Contrary to your experience when you trusted Christ, your salvation began a long time ago when God first acted on your personal salvation. He not only acted to rescue you, but He called you at the same time. Just when He did this is identified at the end of 2 Timothy 1:9: it was before time began. Theologically, this is called “the Council of God.” The three Persons of the Godhead acted in concert, before anything was created, to save and call each and every one who will become a Christian in time. Thinking this through ought to fill each believer with wonder and praise!

His work is a holy work. His calling is a setting apart, a holy definition and destination for the life and walk of each believer. You can see that God’s punctiliar saving and calling encompasses the entirety of an individual’s existence, from earth to glory, from earthly birth to heavenly berth, and from earthly cradle to heavenly crown. 1 Thessalonians 4:7 states, “For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.” There is much more to your calling than God doing the saving and you doing all the rest.

The next phrase in 2 Timothy 1:9 explains this. Our text says, “not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace.” The Greek thought conveyed is that your salvation is not dominated by the works of a sinner. “According to” is indicative of dominating force. Your salvation is not left to your abilities, works, or undertakings. Your salvation is not dominated by you, but by God. It is dominated by His own purpose and grace. Purpose is the process of what He is doing to accomplish your salvation. Grace indicates it is a gift freely given. Philippians 1:6 tells us that “…He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” God will not fail in His undertaking. Thank God your salvation is not dependent upon your undertaking!

All this God has planned before time began. The Greek has this wonderful phrase that includes the idea of times eternal, or eternal times. God’s council is shrouded in the mystery of the ages before He brought the first created thing into existence. It was in that far off age that God foreknew you and all about you. He treasured you, set in motion the events that would rescue you and guarantee your place and presence in His eternal home. Romans 8:29f states, “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”

This is all well and good, you may say, but what about that final enemy of the body? What about death? 2 Timothy 1:10 shows us that even death has been provided for by the great Tri-Unity. The verse brings us right up to this present day: “But has now….” God is concerned with your day-to-day welfare, not just the big picture!

The word “appearing” is the translation of the Greek word from which we get our English word epiphany. In Jesus’ first advent He appeared in order to take away your sin and to deal a blow to all the consequences that arise from your fallen state. As determined in the “eternal council,” the Son of God would come to earth, take upon Himself the nature of a man, take your place, and die to pay for your sin and to ransom you to God.

In His death He abolished death. The Greek word means “to make idle, render unemployed.” Jesus Christ took the sting from death (1 Corinthians 15:54–57; Romans 6:6; Hebrews 2:14). He has rendered the event of your death powerless. It is still an event that awaits each of us unless our Lord’s will is to soon rapture the Church, but death has been stripped of its finality, its horror, and its hopelessness that it once held for us! We have been relieved of dread and of impending judgment. We have been gifted vibrant life and immortality through the Gospel (Job 12:22). Trust and obey.