Writings on Christianity

Eternal Life (Double Confidence): God’s Calling and Our Profession of Faith (1 Timothy 6:12)

Eternal Life (Double Confidence): God’s Calling and Our Profession of Faith (1 Timothy 6:12)

Last time we considered what it meant to ‘take hold of eternal life’ in 1 Tim 6:12 and concluded that this involved both faith and faith expressed in action. Now I’d like us to consider something else in this verse: Paul uses two categories (God’s calling and our act of profession) to encourage Timothy in his striving to embrace this theological reality of possessing eternal life. Perhaps, we too can benefit from such a reminder.

Let’s take a look at the text together:
Take hold of the eternal life to which he has been called and about which he made the good confession in front of many witnesses.”

First, Timothy is reminded that God has called him out of the darkness and given him eternal life. God is the agent who did this, not Timothy. Here, we see then the supernatural invisible actions of God. Second, Paul reminds Timothy of his confession of faith in the presence of many witnesses in the past. Such a confession was a work of grace that many others saw. So Timothy was reminded of these realities, realities which functioned to encourage him to take hold of the eternal which he currently was possessing.

As believers, we ourselves can draw on these two streams of confidence (God’s election of us and our faith demonstrated in our profession in the past) to give our hearts courage as strive to take the remarkable reality that we have eternal life. First, the fact that God–the eternal King and Ruler of the universe–is the person who called us out of the darkness strengthens us when we feel sad about our spirituality or performance. We are reminded that it is not our efforts that saved us in the first place, but God’s merciful calling. Our eternal life is a gift given to us, and because this is true, we can take a hold of it as gift today.

Second, our hearts can take courage as we look at our profession of faith in the past. When we became Christians, we underwent the symbolic ordinance of baptism to testify to the world that we are are Christ-followers.  This event in the past was witnessed by many and was not just something that happened in our mind or heart. Because this is true, we can be encouraged that this is not something we merely made up in our heads. God really saved us and others can testify to His grace which allowed us to turn from sin and profess Jesus as Lord. This happened in the past and God has allowed us to continue in the faith, through sustaining grace. As we ponder this in our hearts, which are quick to forget, we are encouraged and emboldened in our faith. As the Israelites needed the 12 stones to remind them of God’s deliverance over the river of Jordan, so we can remember use our baptism to remind us that God really transformed us and led us to conviction, repentance and belief.

Christian: if your hearts are sad and unsure about your eternal life, you can take be comforted in God’s electing grace and your past profession of faith, which came about through the Holy Spirit’s regeneration. Take hold of the eternal life to which God has called you to and which you confessed before others.

By Tom Schmidt

Christian, husband of Rach, Church Planter,musician,

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