“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life…”
I Timothy 6:12
As Timothy fights “the good fight of faith,” Paul also instructs him to “lay hold on eternal life.” Timothy already had secured eternal life, which he and all who confess the Lord Jesus as their Savior are given. That wonderful verse of John 3:16, so many have wisely learned—“For God so loved the world, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life,” gives clarity to the certainty of eternal life for the believer. Eternal life is, obviously, everlasting, but there is an added emphasis here in Paul’s writing to Timothy which we find of great value concerning eternal life’s value right now.
What is Paul’s intent in his exhortation for Timothy to “lay hold on eternal life?” The idea of “lay hold” in the original is to “take hold of” or “ to grasp– even with an aggressive and violent action… in order to make one’s own.” The idea might be best understood as it is used in Matthew 14:31— it is there we see this original word used as Jesus was yanking Peter up from the turbulent waves. It was Jesus laying-hold-on Peter and was not going to let him go. He was absolutely capable of seizing the floundering fisherman…no difficulty for Him! This grip is similar to that of a parent with a hand on a child in precarious circumstance. The idea—Timothy already had eternal life, but Paul is cheering him to grab life with this certain eternity in mind that he might live life here in full. We are to live each day with the strong influence that Heaven is real and Heaven is soon… that Heaven is real soon!
This is a great reminder for all of us. We are to grab onto eternal life that is already ours and attach strongly to this certainty— through the very daily events of life’s up’s and down’s. Eternal life— the knowledge of God the Father, and Christ his Son, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the knowledge of sins forgiven, the peace of Christ, the fruits of the Spirit, the joy of a life spent for the Lord and the love of God— these are the things we must grab onto and joyously hold until that very soon day we arrive home in Heaven.
Some encouraging thoughts from saints who’ve gone before us—
Vance Havner— If you are a Christian, you are not a citizen of this world trying to get to Heaven; you are a citizen of Heaven making your way through this world.
Matthew Henry— Our duty as Christians is always to keep Heaven in our eye and earth under our feet.
C.S. Lewis— It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth thrown in: aim at earth and you will get neither.
Paul in Colossians 3– … seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting as the right hand of God. Set you r mind on things above, not on things on the earth.