A beloved son: Devotional Commentary for August 25-31
This is the Word of God. May the Spirit of Truth give us wisdom and insight to receive what has been conveyed through His Word by His Inspiration.
1Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus,
2To Timothy, a beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
As in his first letter, Paul opened his second letter to Timothy with a firm assertion of his apostleship. He credited his apostleship to the sovereign Will of God, and his appointment to the promise of life he received in Jesus Christ. Paul was absolutely convinced that his appointment to apostleship was anchored in the promise of life secured for him by Jesus Christ. That was his redemption. He was chosen, called, and commissioned by God to preach the Gospel and to proclaim the Good News to the lost.
He opened his letter with these words in order to lend divine credence to the message in his epistle inscribed in the following pages. Paul was confident in God his Father and Jesus Christ his Savior. Prison or otherwise, he always knew who he was in Christ regardless of his circumstances. He probably wanted to make sure that his imprisonment did not diminish the significance of his message to Timothy.
Then he proceeded to warmly greet Timothy in the Grace, Mercy, and Peace of God our Father in Jesus Christ. Paul also acknowledged Timothy as his beloved son because he was his son in the Spirit. He invoked God’s Grace, Mercy, and Peace on Timothy, confessing his deep affection for this young man whom he raised in the spirit as his protégé. Paul immensely loved Timothy and he wanted to empower him by Christ's strength, as his own final days were drawing closer.
3I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day,
4greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy,
5when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also.
Paul assured Timothy that he constantly prayed for him day and night with a thankful heart. Every time Paul approached his Father's throne room in prayer, he petitioned to God for Timothy and the ministerial responsibility he received from the Lord in spite of his youth. Actually, he credited God with his own ability and commitment to pray for Timothy day and night without fail.
Paul's conscience was clear before God like those who served before him, both in his service to God and his care for Timothy. Paul was fond of Timothy, not only as his spiritual son and a good and diligent servant of God, but also because of his genuine faith. Raised under the profound influence of his Christian mother and grandmother, Timothy's unfeigned faith was a great encouragement to Paul. Paul was anxious to see Timothy soon because being with him would bring him great joy.
He longed to see the mighty work of God in the life of his son Timothy. Remembering the tearful farewell they probably had the last time they were together, Paul expressed a strong desire to see his son in the Spirit in spite of the distance between Paul's prison cell in Rome and Ephesus where Timothy was serving. Paul depended on God's all-sufficient Grace and His infinite Providence and yearned for a blessed and rewarding reunion. Paul's opening words were not merely expression of greetings. They were a Spirit-inspired yearning to glorify God in a life that was profoundly transformed.
This is the second letter from Paul—the great Apostle, to Timothy—a diligent laborer for the Gospel. It may also be viewed as just a letter from Paul to Timothy, from one brother to another with revealed words of encouragement and instruction from God by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. It is a letter bearing the last words of an aging mentor to a maturing servant of God.
After he identified himself and declared his authority to speak as God's Apostle, Paul greeted and affirmed Timothy with strong expressions of faith, love, and confidence. He greeted him with Grace, Mercy, and Peace from God in Jesus Christ. This threefold harmony of God's assurance and blessing was instrumental in helping Paul express his deep affection toward Timothy, his son in the Spirit.
By pointing to God's Grace, Paul drew Timothy's attention to his freedom from the guilt of sin in God's redemption. By alluding to God's Mercy, Paul comforted Timothy with the forgiveness he received from God. By referring to Peace from God, Paul reminded Timothy of the rest he had in Jesus Christ from all his struggles and frustrations as a sinner saved by Grace. Paul was able to stabilize Timothy by the same Grace, Mercy, and Peace he himself was encouraged.
Paul always viewed himself as the Apostle of Jesus Christ and the servant of God by the Will of God, regardless of the circumstances surrounding his earthly status. Everything about him and his life was defined by a high sense of his apostolic vocation. All that mattered to him was God's Will for him and for his life.
It was from this highly focused perspective that Paul commended Timothy for his faith and diligence, and strongly desired to see him again. The love of Christ manifested in the lives and services of two diligent and faithful brothers, setting the example of obedience and commitment for all Christians at all times at all places. Paul yearned to see his son in the Spirit to glorify God with Timothy for what He had done in both of their lives, showing us the value of Christian love and care within the Body of Christ, our families, and the world in which we live and serve.