The Holy Calling


Comments on 2 Timothy 1:8-11


He (Timothy) is here enjoined to suffer evil with the gospel, but according to the power of God. Nothing can show more forcibly the deep interest in it to which he was called. When worldliness enters, suffering hardship disappears. When the church becomes worldly, one gains honor, ease, emolument; and so it is with the gospel when it becomes popular. If the gospel and the church engage the heart and testimony according to Christ, suffering and rejection cannot but ensue. Timothy, therefore, was called to take Christ’s part in the gospel; and God’s power would not be lacking, however he might suffer.


The gospel is well worth the while, "for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one who believes," being entirely above the distinction which the law or circumcision made. It is of the Spirit, not of the flesh, not national now but personal. God "saved us." It is the fruit of His work in Christ; and that work was finished on earth, and accepted in heaven, and abides for ever, complete and unchanging. Men may move away from the hope of the gospel by ordinances on the one hand or by philosophy on the other. Both are of the world, and almost equally worthless; both are absolutely inefficacious to save, though one be a sign, the other purely human. But God "saved us and called us with a holy calling." Here "holy" is emphatic and most suitable to the Epistle and the state of things contemplated. Always true, it was urgent now to press its "holy" character. It was a calling on high or upward, as we read in Phil. 3:14, in contrast with the earthly things in which men find their glory to their shame. It is a heavenly calling, as we see in Heb. 3:1, which those needed especially to consider who were used to the external calling of Israel in the land. It is God’s calling with its hope in and with Christ where the creature disappears from view and His eternal counsels for the glory of His Son are developed for the soul, as in Eph. 1 and 4. But now in the growing declension of such as bore the name of the Lord the apostle binds together God’s salvation with His holy calling. An evil time is not at all one for lowering the standard but for unveiling it and pressing its importance. [Italics added, Hulshizer]