Charles Simeon Commentary - 2 Timothy 1:9 - 1:9

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Charles Simeon Commentary - 2 Timothy 1:9 - 1:9

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2Ti_1:9. Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.

THE deepest truths of our religion were familiar to the mind of the Apostle Paul. He introduced them, on all occasions, as the most forcible motives to obedience [Note: The consideration of God’s electing love is here urged as a motive to induce Timothy to constancy and perseverance in the path of duty.]. Amongst us, their practical efficacy is denied, and their importance questioned. The very maintaining of them is not unfrequently deemed a crime; but we must not conceal the truth, because some reprobate it as error. We will state it cautiously; and it will commend itself to all. In the text, we have ample instruction in relation to the Christian’s calling: we see,

I.       The nature of it—

There is an outward call of the Gospel, which is resisted by many; but that of which the text speaks, is inward and effectual—

It is a call,

1.       To salvation as the end—

[If it were only, as many think, a call to outward privileges, it still would establish God’s right to bestow his blessings on whomsoever he will [Note: If God has a right to confer the means of salvation on some and not on others, he has a right to confer salvation itself. If the one would be unjust, so must the other be; and if the one be admitted, so must also the other.]. But the Scriptures represent it as a call to the adoption of children [Note: Eph_1:5.], to eternal life [Note: Act_13:48.], to everlasting salvation [Note: 1Th_5:9.]. The connexion between salvation and the call, is, as in the text, uniform and inseparable [Note: Rom_8:30.].]

2.       To holiness as the way—

[If holiness were not included in the call, the doctrine of election would certainly be open to insurmountable objections: but holiness is that to which we are immediately and distinctly called [Note: 1Th_4:7. Hence it is denominated in the text, “an holy calling.”]. It is required of us, not only in general [Note: Heb_12:14.], but in this particular view [Note: 1Pe_1:15-16.]. It is declared to have been particularly in the mind and intention of God, in our predestination [Note: Rom_8:29.], election [Note: Eph_1:4.], vocation [Note: 2Pe_1:3.], and in the whole work of his grace upon our hearts [Note: Eph_2:10.]. Our perseverance also in good works was equally in his contemplation [Note: Joh_15:16.]. When our acceptance and salvation are most distinctly spoken of as the end, holiness is carefully stated as the medium through which we are to attain them [Note: 1Pe_1:2. 2Th_2:13-14.].]

The Christian’s calling is further to be considered, in reference to,

II.      The grounds of it—

Nothing can be more plain than the Apostle’s statement: he tells us, both negatively, what our calling does not arise from; and positively, what it does:

1.       It is not founded on our works—

[It cannot be founded on any good works already done; for we never had done, or could do any, till we were called by grace. It could not be founded on good works foreseen: for they were to be the fruits of our calling, and therefore could not be the ground or occasion of it. Had our works, whether done or foreseen, been the proper ground of our calling, we should have had a ground of boasting before God. Hence God has repeatedly and expressly declared, that they never operated in any respect or degree as inducements with him to confer upon us his converting grace [Note: Rom_11:5-6. Eph_2:9. Tit_3:5.].]

2.       It is founded solely on his purpose and grace—

[God formed his purposes from all eternity [Note: Act_15:18.]; and agreeably to them he acts [Note: Eph_1:11.]. In consequence of them we were given to Christ, as his purchased possession [Note: Joh_17:6. with Eph_1:4.]; and a promise of life was given to us in him, and for his sake [Note: Tit_1:2.]. It was in conformity to them that the Jews were made God’s peculiar people [Note: Deu_7:6-8.]; and in conformity to them we Gentiles also are called to a participation of his favour [Note: Rom_9:11; Rom_9:16.].]

From hence we shall take occasion to answer some important questions:

1.       How shall I know whether I have been effectually called?

[It cannot be determined by any dreams, or visions, or fanciful experiences. It can be known only by the fruits which we produce [Note: 1Th_1:4-10. St. Paul judged by the change wrought in the life and conversation of his converts.].]

2.       What have I to do on the supposition I have been called?

[You are not at liberty to indulge supineness, as though you were sure of heaven at all events. You should exceed all others in holiness, as much as you profess to surpass them in your prospects. You should walk worthy of the favours conferred upon you [Note: Eph_4:1.], and of the Benefactor who conferred them [Note: 1Th_2:12.].]

3.       What privileges do I enjoy as one of God’s elect?

[Survey the wheels of a watch, and see how, in all their complicated motions, they accomplish one important end. Thus does all the machinery of the universe, whether more or less connected with men or devils, move in reference to your present and eternal good. Of this you may be assured; and it may well endear to you the doctrines in the text [Note: Rom_8:28.].]