Be Strong in Grace
James Smith, 1860
"You therefore, my son — be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." 2 Timothy 2:1
To be forsaken in affliction, is a sore trial. This trial Paul was exposed to when an old man. Hence he writes, "Everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me." And again, "At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them." He informs Timothy of this to forewarn him, and to lead him to place implicit trust in God. They are blessed trials which wean us from men, and teach us to make use of Christ. Now he writes, "You therefore, my son — be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." 2 Timothy 2:1. Place no confidence in man — but depend wholly on the grace that is in Christ. Here is,
An Encouraging Fact. There is grace in Christ Jesus — and this grace comprises wisdom to guide our way — strength to perform our duties, and holiness to fit us for heaven. There is all needed grace in Christ, and it is there for us. Grace was given us in Christ Jesus, before the world began; and therefore when Jesus appeared, he was full of grace and truth. For our encouragement, amidst all we meet with on earth, let us remember, that there is a fullness of grace — to supply us; a promise of grace — to encourage us; a throne of grace — to embolden us; examples of grace — to stimulate us; and a heart in God — to give us grace to establish, strengthen, and settle us. Here is also,
A Stimulating Exhortation. "Be strong!" Nature, will fail, trials will increase, temptations will be fiery, foes will be many, the work will be hard — but the grace that is in Christ, will always be the same; therefore, "be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." Be strongly persuaded of the favor of God in Christ. You have his word for it, and he has confirmed it by an oath. Be strong in your dependence upon grace, and in your expectations from grace. Have no confidence in yourself, place no dependence on any creatures — but rely on divine grace alone. If you do so, you will be a match for all your foes, you will be fortified against all your trials, you will be furnished and prepared for all your labors, and you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the devil!
Grace at first made us Christians, and grace must make us conquerors. As we began with grace, we must go on with grace, and at last we must end with grace. Our comfort, our encouragement, lies, not in what we are — or in what we can do — or in what we have — but in what Christ is to us, and what Christ has for us. To Jesus therefore, we must apply for all we need. To Jesus alone we must trust for grace to help us, and to make us more than conquerors. We can do anything through grace — but we can do nothing without grace. Apart from Christ, we are weaker than an infant; but in Christ and through Christ, we are stronger than an Archangel. O for grace, to teach us to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.