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2 Timothy 1:9 Berean Study Bible

He has saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works, but by His own purpose and by the grace He granted us in Christ Jesus before time began.

Jesus existed before time began.

Who is the "us"?

Before time began, did God think of us in the context of time?

How should we understand this verse in terms of reality and the framework of space-time?

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  • +1. Besides upvoting the question, I also upvoted two answers. The first for: "I have made you (Abraham) a father of many nations". And the second one for: "He (Jesus) was slain from the foundation of the world". Because both are excellent examples of fulfillment’s of earlier prophecies. Both the two fulfillments can be said to be logos (the word) becoming flesh. Mar 13 at 0:22
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For 2 Tim 1:9, the BLB gives an excellent and literal rendering:

the One having saved us and having called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, having been given us in Christ Jesus before time eternal,

The idea of God's eternal purpose is extremely common in the NT - see appendix 1 below. In reading this we must recall that God's eternal purpose was to save everyone:

  • John 12:32, “I [Jesus] … will draw all people to myself.”
  • Acts 17:30, “God … commands all people everywhere to repent.”
  • 1 Tim 2:3, 4, “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
  • Titus 2:11, “For the grace of God appeared bringing salvation to all people.”
  • Heb 2:9, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honour because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.”
  • 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
  • 1 John 2:2, “He Himself [Jesus] is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours [Christians to whom John writes] only but also for the whole world.”

Thus, God intended that ALL would be saved and do good works (Eph 2:10):

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance as our way of life.

This is the simple truth expressed in 2 Tim 1:9 - God wants us all saved and had determined to do just that and to have us all do good works consistent with that salvation. The fact that God decided this before "time eternal" is completely consistent with His eternal purpose and will. See appendix 2 below.

CONCLUSION

The "us" in 2 Tim 1:9 is those who have been called and responded to God's calling - people who follow Christ and "keep his commandments" (1 John 2:3, John 14:15, 15:10, 12, 14, etc.)

APPENDIX 1 - references to God's eternal purpose

  • Eph 1:9 - the One having saved us and having called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, having been given us in Christ Jesus before time eternal,
  • Eph 3:11 - according to the eternal purpose that He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  • Rom 8:28 - And we know that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose.
  • Rom 9:11 - Yet before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad, in order that God’s plan of election might stand,

APPENDIX 2 - God's will before "Time eternal"

  • Matt 25:34 - Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
  • John 17:24 - Father, I want those You have given Me to be with Me where I am, that they may see the glory You gave Me because You loved Me before the foundation of the world.
  • Eph 1:4 - For He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in His presence.
  • Heb 4:3 - And yet His works have been finished since the foundation of the world.
  • 1 Peter 1:20 - He was known before the foundation of the world, but was revealed in the last times for your sake.
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Us is everyone who accepts Jesus as their Saviour and King. He died for the entire world population since Adam. He was slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8) But only those who accept Him are granted His grace and unmerited favour. We have become, through Jesus, joint heirs with Christ and we have been granted the right to become sons of God - by the Spirit of Adoption, we have been given the full rights of a natural child. (see also John Chapter 1) Take care and be blessed

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2 Timothy 1:9 English Standard Version

2 Timothy 1:9 (KJV)

9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

KJV "before the world began, "Douay-Rheims "before the times of the world.", NASB " Jesus from all eternity",

The expressions "before time began."or "before the times of the world.", or "before the world began,"indicate a period of great undeterminable length.The KJV is more specific, other writings of Paul are more relative in time, in his letter to the Ephesians 1:4-11 he wrote:

Who is the "us"?

God predestined a group of humans for adoption as sons and daughters [ but not the individuals of the group ] to a heavenly inheritance before the foundation of the world.

Ephesians 1:4-11 (NASB)

4 Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before [a]Him. In love 5 [b]He predestined us to adoption as sons and daughters through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, with which He favored us in the Beloved. 7 In [c]Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our wrongdoings, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He [d]lavished on [e]us. In all wisdom and insight 9 He [f]made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He set forth in Him, 10 regarding His plan of the fullness of the times, to bring all things together in Christ, things [g]in the heavens and things on the earth. 11 [h]In Him we also have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things in accordance with the plan of His will,

1 Peter 1:3-4 (NET Bible)

New Birth to Joy and Holiness

3 Blessed be[a] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he gave us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 that is,[b] into[c] an inheritance imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. It is reserved in heaven for you,

Before the foundation of the world, Jesus linked it with Abel.

(NET Bible footnotes, Luke 11:51 d, sn Gen 4:10 indicates that Abel’s blood cried out for justice.)

Luke 11:50-51 (NASB)

50 So that the blood of all the prophets, shed since the foundation of the world, may be charged [a]against this generation, 51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the house of God; yes, I tell you, it shall be charged [b]against this generation.’

Jesus existed before time began.

Jesus was "the beginning of the creation of God"[Rev. 3:14 KJV, DARBY, ASV,JUB, ESV]

Revelation 3:14 (KJV)

14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

Revelation 3:14 (DARBY)

14 And to the angel of the assembly in Laodicea write: These things says the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God:

Jesus prehuman existence.

John 17:5 (NET Bible)

5 And now, Father, glorify me at your side with the glory I had with you before the world was created.

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Who did God choose in Christ before the foundation of the world? (Eph. 1:1 & 4 KJV)

"Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:"

"According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:"

Who did God choose in Christ before the foundation of the world? Paul addressed, "the faithful in Christ Jesus." Hence, God already determined whom He would call to serve Christ.

However, is that to say that they already existed before the foundation of the world?

Let's first find out: What is a consistent pattern in God's speech? (Gen. 17:5-6 NIRV)

"'You will not be called Abram anymore. Your name will be Abraham, because I have made you a father of many nations. I will give you many children. Nations will come from you. And kings will come from you."

Who was God speaking to here? God said, "Abraham". What did God declare to Abraham? God said, "I have made you a father of many nations". However, although God used the past-tense, does this mean that it had already come to pass? God clarified, "I will give you many children". This refers to something that would happen in the future, to children that did not yet exist.

Why then, in God's declaration to Abraham, did He make it seem as if it already happened? (Rom. 4:17 NIRV)

"It is written, 'I have made you a father of many nations.' (Genesis 17:5) God considers Abraham to be our father. The God that Abraham believed in gives life to the dead. Abraham's God also speaks of things that do not exist as if they do exist."

Why did God say to Abraham, "I have made you a father of many nations," although it had not yet happened? Paul explained, "Abraham's God also speaks of things that do not exist as if they do exist." Hence why God said through the apostles that we were granted in Christ although we did not yet exist.

In the same way, did Jesus already literally exist before the foundation of the world? (I Pet. 1:20 CSB)

"He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was revealed in these last times for you."

Did Jesus already exist before the foundation of the world? Peter clarified, "He was foreknown." One who is foreknown does not refer to one who already exists, but rather one who would exist in the future. Hence, what existed of Christ in the beginning, in literal terms, was merely the foreknowledge or plan concerning Him, much like God's plan regarding those who would be granted in Christ.

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Before time began, did God think of us in the context of time?

God's thinking does not require the context of time.

How should we understand this verse in terms of reality and the framework of space-time?

It's the God-reality of omniscience. No framework of space-time is needed.

Ephesians 1:9 New International Version

he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ,

It is the eternal reality of the Godhead: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Father promises the Son that He will save us.

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