He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.
2 Timothy 1:9 NIV
This is a pretty amazing verse. That I have been saved by God’s grace is explicit throughout the writings of the apostles. But here Paul bundles the call to holiness with our salvation. I have not just been saved by grace. I have also been called to live a holy life by God’s grace and purpose. It is by God’s grace that he calls me to be distinct from this world, living a life that is set apart for him. It might be tempting to think of the call to holiness to be more along the nature of an obligation that results from our salvation by grace. But that is not the case. My call to holiness is an act of grace as well. It is a privilege to live a life devoted to God.
Called According to His Purpose
And it is not just because of God’s grace that we have experienced salvation and the call to holiness. God’s purpose is also involved. God has a plan that he is working out. And I am a part of that plan. Not because of anything I have done or am capable of doing. But for some reason, he has chosen to include me in his purpose for creation.
The grace that he has given me, and his call to a holy life, was given in Christ Jesus. Before time began. Before creation, God knew me. And his grace and call were extended to me even then. I believe it is significant that his grace and call were not given to me as an individual though. It was given to me in Christ. Because I have been included in Christ, his grace is given freely to me. This, in a nutshell, is the gospel.