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8 Do not be ashamed, then, of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God, 9who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 10but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

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8. therefore—seeing that God hath given us such a spirit, not that of fear.

Be not thou … ashamed—I agree with Ellicott, in opposition to Alford, that the Greek subjunctive here, with the negative, implies action completed at one time, not continued action, which the present imperative would express; thus implying that Timothy had not decidedly yet evinced such feeling of shame; though I think, Paul, amidst the desertion of others who once promised fair, and from being aware of Timothy's constitutional timidity (see on 2Ti 1:7), felt it necessary to stir him up and guard him against the possibility of unchristian dereliction of duty as to bold confession of Christ. Shame (2Ti 1:8) is the companion of fear (2Ti 1:7); if fear be overcome, false shame flees [Bengel]. Paul himself (2Ti 1:12), and Onesiphorus (2Ti 1:16), were instances of fearless profession removing false shame. He presents in contrast sad instances of fear and shame (2Ti 1:15).

of the testimony of our Lordof the testimony which thou art bound to give in the cause of our Lord; he says "our," to connect Timothy and himself together in the testimony which both should give for their common Lord. The testimony which Christ gave before Pilate (1Ti 6:12, 13), is an incentive to the believer that he should, after His Lord's example, witness a good testimony or confession.

nor of me his prisoner—The cause of God's servants is the cause of God Himself (Eph 4:1). Timothy might easily be tempted to be ashamed of one in prison, especially as not only worldly shame, but great risk, attended any recognition of Paul the prisoner.

be thou partakerwith me.

of the gospel—rather, as Greek, "for the Gospel," that is, suffered for the Gospel (2Ti 2:3-5; Phm 13).

according to the power of God—exhibited in having saved and called us (2Ti 1:9). God who has done the greater act of power (that is, saved us), will surely do the less (carry us safe through afflictions borne for the Gospel). "Think not that thou hast to bear these afflictions by thine own power; nay, it is by the power of God. It was a greater exercise of power than His making the heaven, His persuading the world to embrace salvation" [Chrysostom].

9. Who … called us—namely, God the Father (Ga 1:6). The having "saved us" in His eternal purpose of "grace, given us in Christ before the world began," precedes his actual "calling" of us in due time with a call made effective to us by the Holy Spirit; therefore, "saved us" comes before "called us" (Ro 8:28-30).

holy calling—the actual call to a life of holiness. Heb 3:1, "heavenly calling" [Tittmann, Greek Synonyms of the New Testament]; whereas we were sinners and enemies (Eph 1:18; 4:1). The call comes wholly from God and claims us wholly for God. "Holy" implies the separation of believers from the rest of the world unto God.

not according to—not having regard to our works in His election and calling of grace (Ro 9:11; Eph 2:8, 9).

his own purpose—The origination of salvation was of His own purpose, flowing from His own goodness, not for works of ours coming first, but wholly because of His own gratuitous, electing love [Theodoret and Calvin].

grace … given us—in His everlasting purpose, regarded as the same as when actually accomplished in due time.

in Christ—believers being regarded by God as IN Him, with whom the Father makes the covenant of salvation (Eph 1:4; 3:11).

before the world beganGreek, "before the times (periods) of ages"; the enduring ages of which no end is contemplated (1Co 2:7; Eph 3:11).

10. But … now … manifest—in contrast to its concealment heretofore in the eternal purpose of God "before the world began" (2Ti 1:9; Col 1:16; Tit 1:2, 3).

appearing—the visible manifestation in the flesh.

abolished deathGreek, "taken away the power from death" [Tittmann]. The Greek article before "death" implies that Christ abolished death, not only in some particular instance, but in its very essence, being, and idea, as well as in all its aspects and consequences (Joh 11:26; Ro 8:2, 38; 1Co 15:26, 55; Heb 2:14). The carrying out of the abolition of death into full effect is to be at the resurrection (Re 20:14). The death of the body meanwhile is but temporary, and is made no account of by Christ and the apostles.

brought … to light—making visible by the Gospel what was before hidden in God's purpose.

life—of the Spirit, acting first on the soul here, about to act on the body also at the resurrection.

immortalityGreek, "incorruptibility" of the new life, not merely of the risen body [Alford], (Ro 8:11).

throughby means of the Gospel, which brings to light the life and immortality purposed by God from eternity, but manifested now first to man by Christ, who in His own resurrection has given the pledge of His people's final triumph over death through Him. Before the Gospel revelation from God, man, by the light of nature, under the most favorable circumstances, had but a glimmering idea of the possibility of a future being of the soul, but not the faintest idea of the resurrection of the body (Ac 17:18, 32). If Christ were not "the life," the dead could never live; if He were not the resurrection, they could never rise; had He not the keys of hell and death (Re 1:18), we could never break through the bars of death or gates of hell [Bishop Pearson].