Get a grip
Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:12 (NKJV)
Eternal life is a gift that God graciously gives to those who have turned to and trusted in Jesus as their Lord and Savior. It can never be created or earned by anyone. Every single recipient of eternal life is completely and infinitely indebted to the Lord for it.
And yet we see something in the verse above that may seem to contradict what we’ve just established. In his instructions to young Timothy, Paul tells his protégé to “lay hold on eternal life.” Doesn’t that sort of imply that man has the ability to gain eternal life through his own efforts? “There it is Timothy—just reach out and grab it for yourself!”
This is one of those instances where we need to take a closer look at how the Scriptures read in their original language. Sometimes truth can get lost or obscured in translation. In the original Greek text, this expression “lay hold on eternal life” is better rendered “get a grip on eternal life.”
There’s a big difference between taking hold of something and getting a grip on something. “Taking hold” implies that it’s something you don’t already have in your possession. “Getting a grip” on something assumes you’re strengthening your grasp on something you’re already holding onto.
Paul is telling Timothy to do all he can to strengthen his grip on what God had already given to him. And that’s a healthy exhortation for all of us. Eternal life is God’s gift to us. But at the same time, it isn’t something that we passively possess.
As God has done His part to give eternal life to us, we are to do our part in making sure our grip on it is growing stronger and stronger. Not because we possess it by our own efforts, but because we appreciate and value it as God’s gift.
Think About It…
What does this passage reveal to me about God?
What does this passage reveal to me about myself?
Based on this, what changes do I need to make?
What is my prayer for today?