Paul wasn’t ashamed of the gospel because it can save all who believe it (Rom.1:16), so he told Timothy not to be either (v.8).The Jews should have been ashamed of looking to Ethiopia to save them from the Assyrians (Isa.20:4,5) and the Egyptians (30:1-7), but Timothy shouldn’t have been ashamed of the gospel that saved him and Paul (1:9). Paul was also not ashamed of the gospel because it revealed the righteousness of God (Rom.1:16,17). It tells how God righteously dealt with our sins by having Christ pay for them. The men who say God will overlook sin and let people into heaven should be ashamed, not us!
We should also not be ashamed because we are called with a holy calling (1:9). Why would God even have to say that? Who would doubt it? Well, its because God first called Abraham “alone” with a holy calling (Is.51:2), then called his church out of Egypt (Acts 7:38, “church” means a called out assembly). That means God already had a people he called with a holy calling. So when God called us Gentiles, the Jews held a council to see if we were called with a holy calling also, and they recognized that we were (Acts 15). So we have nothing to be ashamed of on that account either, our calling is as holy as Israel’s calling was.
We’d have to be ashamed if God called us “according to our works” (v.9), but He called us “according to His own purpose and grace.” His purpose for Israel was to glorify Israel by placing salvation in Zion during the kingdom (Isa. 46:10-13), where faithful Jews will rule the “cities” of the Gentiles (Luke 19:17,19). But God’s purpose for us is to rule over the angels (Eph.1:9-21). This calling wasn’t given to us directly, it was given to us “in Christ” (1:9).
We were called to this calling “before the foundation of the world” (1:9), but Israel’s kingdom was prepared “from” or before “the foundation of the world.” This is because God tried to rule the world with Adam but he sinned, then with Noah and he got drunk (Gen.9:1,2). So God made unconditional promises to Abraham and his seed that they would rule the world, his seed being Christ and all Jews in Christ. Since the government of earth broke after the foundation of the world, God planned to fix it afterward. But the angels fell before the foundation of the world, so God planned to fix the heavens before the foundation of the world with us.
Furthermore, God talked about His plan for the earth from the foundation of the world (Acts 3:21) but kept His plan for us secret since the world began (Rom.16:25). Secret un-til “the appearing” of the Lord (1:10), but not His appearing on earth. He said nothing about God’s plan to fix the heavens when He was here. No, God revealed His plan for the heavens with His appearing to Paul (Acts 26:16).
If the Lord “abolished” death with His death (1:10) why do we still have death? “Abolish” means to annul, as when His death also abolished the law (Eph.2:15 cf. Heb.7:18). They still observed the law at Pentecost (Acts 3:1) until Paul (Rom.6:15), but its power was annulled (Heb.2:14), just as we still have death, and will till the Rapture when death will be swallowed up (ICor.15:54).
“Life and immortality” (1:10) existed in the Jews before Paul, but Paul’s gospel (1:11) brought it to light for us Gentiles. That’s why Paul was made a preacher, an apostle and a teacher. The Lord already had had 12 apostles and lots of preachers and teachers for the Jews.
The “things” Paul was suffering (1:12) was prison (2:9), and he wasn’t suffering it because he was a preacher of the gospel, but because he was a teacher of the Gentiles (v.11). The Jews hated the Gentiles so got him imprisoned. But Paul wasn’t “ashamed” of being in prison (1:12), so Timothy shouldn’t be either (1:8).
Paul committed (1:12) his spirit to the Lord (cf.Ps.31:5) and his soul (cf.IPe.4:19), except we don’t commit our souls to Him “in well doing.” That’s good works, that’s how the Jews were saved, not us (1:9). The psalmist said he wouldn’t be ashamed if God delivered him (Ps.25:2), but God had already delivered Paul, so he was already not ashamed (1:12). He committed his soul to the Lord “against that day,” the day of his impending death.