Some sincere folks entertain the notion that divine grace is somehow unconditionally diffused into the religious atmosphere, descending upon those whom the Creator has randomly chosen. Others feel that grace is bestowed simply on the basis of trust in the Lord. Misunderstanding Ephesians 2:8-9, they labor under the impression that grace is received by faith alone.

Neither of these views has the support of scripture. While it certainly is true that grace is a thrilling element in the divine scheme of things, it is not true that it is unconditionally dispensed, or that it is obtained merely by believing.

In the context presently considered, Paul writes to Timothy: “My child, be strengthened in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” Observe the logic. One is saved by grace. But grace is available “in Christ.” Thus, salvation is in Christ — a truth clearly affirmed nine verses later.

“Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sake, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (2:10).

But the question is: how does one get “into Christ”? The answer is: one is baptized into Christ (Romans 6:3,4; Galatians 3:27). It thus becomes irresistibly clear that grace is accessed at the point when one obeys the gospel of Christ in the act of water immersion.

Underline the phrase “grace that is in Christ,” and note: Received at baptism. See Romans 6:3-4; Galatians 3:27. Also draw an arrow pointing to verse 10 of this chapter.