2 Timothy 1:9-10
He 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 Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel.
I believe this verse is a good follow up to the study sent out yesterday. It succinctly presents the purpose of the salvation we have been given through Jesus Christ. He saved us. Period. Jesus completed the entire work. His sacrifice on the cross … to shed His own blood for the remission of our sins was/is totally sufficient. His death served as the “propitiation” for our sin. The blood of the Lamb of God was the only (and eternal) sacrifice acceptable to God the Father to “impute” righteousness to us. (Cf. Hebrews 9-12-14) It is the only method by which our transgression … our sinful conduct is absolved.
Here are some additional scriptures that explain and illustrate this truth:
Romans 3:20-26 (NIV)
20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin. 21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement (propitiation), through the shedding of His blood—to be received by faith. God did this to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance He had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 God did it to demonstrate His righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
Hebrews 2:14-18 (NIV)
14 Since the children have flesh and blood, Jesus too shared in their humanity so that by His death He might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16 For surely it is not angels God helps, but Abraham’s descendants. 17 For this reason Jesus had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that He might make atonement (propitiation) for the sins of the people. 18 Because Jesus Himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.
1 John 2:1-6 (ESV)
1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice (propitiation) for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 3 And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in Him, 5 but whoever keeps His word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in Him: 6 whoever says he abides in Jesus must live as Jesus did.
1 John 4:9-11 (ESV)
9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the atoning sacrifice (propitiation) for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
Do you see the implications these apostolic writers have presented in connection with the sacrificial atonement accomplished by Jesus Christ? His atoning sacrifice, His propitiation, has purchased our redemption … our salvation. His propitiation has imputed righteousness. His propitiation brings us to the knowledge of God and the understanding of His Law … the Law of Love. His propitiation manifests the love of God so that we might love one another in the same manner. His propitiation brings us to the purpose of salvation … HOLINESS! As Paul shared below, He saved us and CALLED US TO A HOLY LIFE! His blood atonement cleanses us and consecrates us to God. It initiates the process of sanctification … to be set apart unto God and not “of this world”. To be IN HIM means that we belong to His Kingdom … the Kingdom of Light! And therefore, we are being transformed into the same image of Jesus from one degree of glory to another. (Cf. 2 Corinthians 3:18)
Yes, the purpose of salvation is to rescue us from this world … from its dominion of darkness … and to reconcile us with God – to restore our fellowship with the Father. Faith is required to receive the grace of salvation; but moreover, salvation is essential to initiate the process of transformation … to be conformed to the image of the Son – Christ Jesus. (Cf. Romans 8:29) As Paul admonished, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship (rational service). 2 Do not be conformed to this world (the kingdom of darkness), but be transformed (brought into the kingdom of light) by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Cf. Romans 12:1-2)
Salvation is not because of anything that we have done; rather, it was/is initiated by God through Christ Jesus because of His own purpose and grace. And Paul notes, “This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time … and this is quite a profound statement. It has a connotation similar to what the Apostle John recorded in the Book of the Revelation:
Revelations 13:5-8 (NIV)
5 The beast was given a mouth to utter haughty words and blasphemies and it was allowed to exercise its authority for forty-two months. 6 It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander His name and His dwelling place; that is, those who live in heaven. 7 It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. 8 All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.
The LAMB mentioned here is referenced more than ten times in Revelation. Jesus was declared by John the Baptist as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” (Cf. John 1:29) So, these declarations in Scripture bring further context to Ephesians 2:10 which states: “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” So, I believe that we can conclude that the plan of salvation for human beings was ordained before the creation … if we can even comprehend what that means or describes. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. (Cf. John 1:1-2) And all this points to a purpose which God ordained … and that is for us to be holy – just as He is holy. As Paul further explains:
2 Corinthians 6:14-18; 7:1-2 (NIV)
14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial (Hebrew for wickedness – or the leader of the forces of darkness)? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” (Paul is possibly quoting Cf. Leviticus 26:12; Jeremiah 32:38; Ezekiel 37:27) 17 Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” (Paul is possibly quoting Isaiah 52:11) 18 And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” (Paul is possibly quoting 2 Samuel 7:14; Jeremiah 31:9)
The point here is that we are saved for a purpose; and when we examine the Scriptures we discover the purpose is to deliver us from darkness … to bring us into the Kingdom of Light so that we might be conformed to the image of God … to the image of His Son. So I will close with this prayer Paul shared in his epistle to the Colossians:
Colossians 1:9-20 (ESV)
9 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to live in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 being strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience; 12 giving thanks with joy to the Father, who has qualified us to be partakers in the inheritance of His holy people in the Kingdom of Light. 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything He might be preeminent. 19 For in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of His cross.