Paul is writing again to his son in Christ, Timothy. Timothy holds a special place in his heart. He starts his letter with his personal greeting, as is his custom.
The way Paul opens his letter to Timothy sounds too formal for a “father and son” letter. I believe there was a reason for this formality though. There were forgers and false teachers out and about passing themselves off as our gospel heroes. Paul even mentioned a forged letter in 2 Thessalonians 2. He knew others were out there impersonating him or signing his name to things that he did NOT teach or ascribe to.
I believe Paul’s official greeting was like a secret code or security question he inserted into his letters. Sure, others could copy some of his phrases but the recipient would recognize how Paul put his pieces together. Paul uses the exact same opening in his first letter to Timothy. I wonder if they agreed upon this greeting beforehand to protect against forgeries.
Something else I noticed, or was brought to my attention, is how Paul identifies his position. “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus” (verse 1).
What I heard when I read this greeting this time was Paul saying that if it wasn’t for Jesus placing him where he was he would NOT have been where he is. Jesus put him there. Paul didn’t choose to become an apostle. He was chosen. Paul didn’t put himself out there as an example on his own. Paul didn’t choose the hard road; Jesus chose it for him.
Paul willingly went, knowing that it wasn’t going to be an easy road. He knew that fact first hand as he was one of the most famous individuals to oppose the gospel. He knew the cost of being a believer, from the other side of the equation. Then he got to know that cost personally on our side of it too.
NO ONE would be foolish enough to choose the path of believer if it wasn’t for the reward in it too. Paul chose the hard path for the promise of eternal life with Jesus. EVERYTHING he would suffer was worth the price. But he would never have chosen that path without the direct push of the Spirit. Talk about a total about face!
Father God, I wasn’t on the same kind of path Paul was when You brought me to Yourself. But my path was just as far in the other direction as his. To You, there is no degree of sin. ALL sin is sin. You took me from damning path and brought me to life. I LOVE the relationship we share! I pray I’m making You proud of how I am serving. You placed me here and I will serve You where I am as long as YOU tell me to. Thank You that I don’t have to face the same obstacles Paul did. Thank You for choosing me and using me in Your Kingdom.