Who do we call son? Is it the child of our loins, or the one we raised as our own?
Several years ago a man brought up three boys. The eldest was adopted and the younger two were his by birth. He called all three his sons. When it came time to pass on his inheritance, no will was found, and there was a question of who would inherit.
A lawyer told the trio, “A father must provide for a son he has adopted, as if he were born into the family.”
In 2 Timothy 1:2 Paul writes to Timothy, calling him his dearly beloved son. What does he mean? There is no biblical record of Paul fathering children. Neither does the Word indicate he legally adopted anyone. How is Timothy Paul’s son?
We see the connection between the two men in the next three verses.
Verse 3: They had been in conflict with one another.
Paul was not an early and ardent supporter of the Church. Rather, the opposite. He persecuted the Church, albeit through his ignorance. It was only by the merciful hand of God that he was struck down by a bright light, and God sent him to a man named Judas who lived on the street called Straight.
When we are in conflict with a person or a group, and something happens to convince us we have been in total error, it is like throwing a magnet against an iron bar. It is difficult to force us apart.
Verse 4: They became connected with one another.
Paul was imprisoned, and he wrote his epistle to Timothy from behind bars. Timothy had been with Paul when he was arrested, and it was through Timothy’s tears for his mentor that the depth of the connection that bound them together became clear.
When a father and son are ripped apart without just cause, it is an emotional moment, and it is through the emotions that the deepest bonds between men are fostered.
Verse 5: They found continuance in one another.
Paul and Timothy had forged a history together. It was Paul who originally invited Timothy to join his evangelistic team. They traveled to Macedonia together, where they were instrumental in converting Lydia, the seller of purple, to the Church.
Paul even mentions Timothy’s mother and grandmother by name.
If Paul’s connection to Timothy warrants the title of son, how deeply does God’s connection to us run? God sent his Son to die on the cross as an invitation to come unto him. He sent the Holy Spirit to abide with us, no matter where we may go. He even knows our mother and grandmother by name.
When God calls us his sons and daughters, you can rest assured he means it.
When God lays claim to us, not even the devil can make him let go.
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