"He has saved us and called us to a holy life - not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time," NIV translation
Paul continues to encourage Timothy in his faith by reminding him of the fact that he was called to a "holy" life but what did that mean to Paul and what does it mean to us today? The Hebrew word for "holy" is "qadosh" and it means to be set apart for a special purpose. Paul continues and is quick to point out that this calling is not because of our own actions but for God's purpose and grace.
So, if we are set apart for God's purpose, what is that purpose? That purpose is bringing salvation to the rest of mankind and the work was actually accomplished with Jesus on the cross. That speaks of grace and Paul reminds us that this was not some kind of backup plan but was the plan right from the beginning of time. Our purpose, then, is to tell others of this finished work and that is what Jesus was telling the disciples to do in what is known as The Great Commission (see Matthew 28:19)
This all sounds very simple and, in fact, it is but the whole concept of a "holy life" has been twisted by religious authorities. Today, if you would ask someone what it means to live a holy life, they would probably give you a list of things that they do as well as a list of things that they do not do. Some would have sharing the gospel on their to-do list but it would be only one of a long list of religious duties. We must remember that, throughout Paul's ministry as well as Jesus', he faced a constant battle to keep religion out of the gospel of grace. It is the same with us, today, as we must constantly remind ourselves and point out to others that we are not made holy by our actions but only through the grace of God.