. . .the grace that is in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 2.1)
Grace is connected with the whole of our recovery as sinners. It is all in all in every part of our salvation. Whether he is chosen, redeemed, justified, converted, sanctified, preserved or comforted, the believer will acknowledge “by the grace of God, I am what I am – not I, but the grace of God which is in me.”
But, where is this grace to be found? The apostle tells us when he speaks of it as the resource for Timothy, both as a minister and as a Christian: “You, therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” As Mediator, He is the principle and treasury of it with regard to us.
It is in Him exclusively. And we may as well think of finding snow on the bosom of the sun or paradise in hell as to think of finding, elsewhere than in Him, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. As Pharaoh said to the famishing multitudes who cried to him for bread: “Go to Joseph. He has all the corn,” so perishing sinners are sent to be blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. If there was only one well in the vicinity of a place, this would soon become the scene of concourse and hither all the inhabitants would repair, or die. And to Him shall the gathering of the people be. “If any man thirst,” said He, “let him come to Me and drink.” “Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name given under heaven among men whereby they must be saved.” And, what Christian will refuse to join in the ascription, “of His fullness have we all received, and grace for grace?”
It is in Him all-sufficiently. For it is not in Him as water in a vessel which, though as large as the brazen sea would, by constant drawing, be soon drawn dry, but as water in a spring which, though always flowing, is always as full as ever. It is not in Him like light in a lamp which, however luminous, consumes while it shines and will soon go out in darkness, but like light in the sun which, after shining for so many ages, is undiminished, and is as able as ever to bless the earth with his beams. There never has been a deficiency in Him, and there never will be – never can be – for Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
It is in Him relatively. He has it for the use and advantage of His people. Is He head over all things? It is to His body, the church. Has He power given Him over all flesh? It is that He might give eternal life to as many as the Father has given Him. Is He exalted at the right hand of God? It is to be a Prince and a Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. Did He receive gifts? It was for men, and even for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them. Many trustees are faithful to their office. The rich have wealth for the poor but, often, the poor share very little of it, for it is either hoarded by avarice or squandered by extravagance, and the design of the donor is subverted by the steward. But, here, there is no danger of this. He to whom all our welfare is entrusted will be faithful – not as a servant, like Moses, but as a Son over His own house. His work falls in with every disposition of His heart. He so loves the recipients of His bounty that He even died for them and rose again. The power and authority to bless them was the joy set before Him, for which He endured the cross and despised the shame.
And it is in Him wisely. Could we see no reason for it, we ought to believe in the propriety of His placing it in Him rather than in ourselves, for God does all things well and we may always infer the rectitude of His conduct even from His adopting it. And when He has told us, too, that a particular course of action became Him, it is absurd to speculate and profane to object. But, it is easy to apprehend the wisdom of God in His pleasure that, in Him, should all fullness dwell. It is, thus, infinitely secure. Adam had all in his own hand, and soon failed and ruined his whole race. And, should we act better than he? But “this man abides forever” and, therefore, the covenant, of which He is the head, is everlasting, ordered in all things, and sure. By this appointment also, there is rendered necessary a communion between Christ and Christians, equally honorable to Him and beneficial to them. Let me explain this by a simple reference: an infant, when born, if left to himself, would perish, for he is entirely unequal to his own support. But, he is not abandoned. Provision is made for his nourishment. Where? In another. In whom? The one above all others interested in him, and whose relation to him, whose anguish on his behalf, whose love, will always yield him a welcome access to her breast. And the mutual action of giving and receiving will endear the babe to the mother and the mother to the babe.
It is well that we cannot live independently of Christ Jesus. How much are His glory and our welfare connected with the blessed necessity of our daily and hourly intercourse with Him? – William Jay (1769-1853), a meditation on 2 Timothy 2.1.