Tuesday, 27 March 2018
This is a faithful saying:
For if we died with Him,
We shall also live with Him. 2 Timothy 2:11
Like the book of 1 Timothy, Paul’s second letter to his young protege centers on a poetic saying. Paul now begins that poetic saying for us to consider. He has just spoken of “the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” With that in mind, he says, “This is a faithful saying.” As with the words found in 1 Timothy 1:15, 3:1, and 4:9, the Greek reads, “Faithful is the saying.” Thus, this refers to what precedes it, meaning the “eternal glory.”
From there, he begins his words. It is believed by some that what he says formed an ancient Christian creed that was already in use, being a part of the liturgy of churches. There is really nothing to substantiate this, but it is still possible. Whether it is true or not, what he says is also reflected in other parts of his writings. Paul is ever-consistent to relay the truth of the works of Christ. For now, he begins with, “For if we died with Him.” This is speaking about our death to sin; it being crucified with Him.
Although we are still physically alive, and although we continue to do things which could be considered as sin, God no longer views us in this light. Through faith in the work of Christ, meaning His death, we are counted as having died with Him. Thus when God looks at us, He no longer sees us as we were, meaning dead in sin. Instead, we are reckoned in a new way – alive in Christ. That is confirmed by the next words, “We shall also live with Him.”
We are positionally in this new state already. Our hope and faith stands in the fact that it will be realized in us actually at some future point. This is a sentiment similar to Romans 6:8 – “Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him.”
What occurred here is explained by Paul in a very detailed way in 2 Corinthians 5 –
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:17-19
Dying with Him means that our sin nature (even if we still actually sin) has died with him. As we are dead to sin through Him, God no longer counts our sins against us. As the wages of sin is death, and as we no longer have sin imputed to us, then we are alive with Christ. And so even if our earthly body dies, we must (no if’s, and’s, or but’s) resurrect to eternal life. Just as it was impossible for death to hold Christ (Acts 2:24) because He had no sin, it is likewise impossible that death can hold us. We have died to sin, sin is not being imputed to us, and thus it is not possible that death can hold us. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:54-57 –
55 ‘O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?’
56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Indeed, if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him.
Life application: Beloved, if you have received Jesus Christ as Savior, you have died to sin. The process of resurrection to eternal life is more assured than the next sunrise. Christ did not die to give you a possible hope, and the Bible is not written to teach you eternal insecurity. Rather, Christ died for us to give us a sure hope, and the Bible records that eternal salvation is found in the blood of Christ. Death is swallowed up in victory, and nothing in all of creation can separate you from God’s love which is found in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Heavenly Father, the magnificence of what You have done through Christ Jesus for us is only matched by its simplicity. Christ died for our sins. When we accept that premise we die to sin. The law can no longer accuse us because You are no longer imputing sin to us. As we have died to sin, and as we no longer have sin imputed to us, it is not possible for death to hold us. Death is swallowed up in victory! Thanks be to You, O God, for the full, final, and forever effective work of Jesus Christ in our lives! Amen.