“ who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity” II Timothy 1:9 NASB
In verse eight of this same chapter Paul asks Timothy to take a huge step of faith and follow him. Hold this into its biblical context-Paul has suffered greatly for his faith, he is in prison for his faith, he is about to be executed for his faith, and now he is asking Timothy to follow him. Paul’s specific request was, “join me in suffering for the gospel.” If anyone were to read verse eight by itself their response to Paul’s request would be, “Have you lost your mind?”
Why would anyone willingly pursue a life that would likely lead to suffering? Because, He has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose. Clearly all Christians are called to work for the Lord. Just as clear, we are not saved by our works or good deeds. Works do not save us. (Ephesians 2:8,9). We are saved by placing our faith in the brutal, bloody, and torturous work of Christ on the cross. Faith in Christ’s redemptive work is the only means of salvation.
Why should I serve? Because I am saved. I don’t deserve salvation. Prior to my salvation I was a sinner condemned to eternal death and condemnation because of my sins. However, Christ died in my place so I could have life-and life everlasting. Not only has He saved me, He has also set me on a path of service. He has called every Christian to serve Him. Paul said this calling is a “holy calling.” A holy calling that is gospel centered.
Paul said that the gospel, which is the death burial, and resurrection of Jesus, is of first importance. (I Corinthians 15:3). He also said that he was not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power unto salvation to those who believe. (Romans 1:16). Apart from the gospel all humanity is hopelessly lost and eternally condemned. However, through the power of the gospel, God transforms even the most sinful into a sanctified saint.
Why should I serve? Because I am saved. And, God’s heart is for everyone to be saved. I believe the most wicked form of sin this world has ever seen is not from the actions of the hedonistic people of this world. Lost people will act like lost people because they are lost people standing in need of salvation. The most wicked form of sin comes from the selfish Christian that refuses to serve and hoards the gospel unto themselves. They stand in great need of repentance.
Why should I serve? Because I am saved. My faith tells me that this life is only temporary. I may suffer as a result of my service to the Lord, but that suffering is only temporary. I know where my eternity rests, therefore, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18). Jesus, “who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame” knew that the other side of the cross was eternal joy and everlasting redemption. (Hebrews 12:3). Although those who don’t know Christ as their Lord may have riches and blessings in this life, they will fall into eternal hell and condemnation at the very moment of their death.
Why then do I serve? Because I am saved, saved with a holy calling, saved by my faith in a powerful gospel and I love the God who has saved me knowing He desires all others to be saved as well. I will serve, even if it means I will suffer, because I am saved.