2 Timothy 1:14

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 2 Timothy 1:13

Paul now exhorts Timothy to go further than he has thus far. He has been implored to not be ashamed of the testimony of the Lord (v.8), but now he is told that a “pattern” has been laid down in order to do this. The word is found only here and in 1 Timothy 1:16. It indicates an outline, or a sketch. Thus, Paul is telling Timothy that he has been given an outline already that he is to not deviate from. He says this with, “Hold fast the pattern of sound words.” Timothy’s ears have received the necessary pattern from Paul which he was then to follow. As he says further, “which you have heard from me.”

While Paul and Timothy traveled, evangelized, and taught, Timothy learned the outline of sound doctrine from his mentor. He had also encountered the Judaizers and false teachers who would tear the flock away from the simple gospel which is found in Christ Jesus the Lord. But Paul seems to indicate now that Timothy himself is susceptible to being led astray – and it is so. This is not just a warning for Timothy, but for all. It is as natural as breathing to want to include oneself in any such equation. But the gospel – from beginning to end – must be about Christ alone. Paul’s exhortation is a simple, but forceful, reminder that there is a pattern which has been set, and which needs to be held fast to. There is to be no wavering from it, and no going outside the lines which have been carefully laid down for those of the faith.

And further, Paul encourages him to hold fast to it “in faith.” One can teach about Jesus without faith. Even a person of faith can do so. The difference is often noticeable to those who hear. Teachers cannot allow teaching to become rote and lifeless. Instead, as with Paul exhorting Timothy, they are to hold fast to the faith, and to teach in faith. In so doing, those they teach will be enlivened by the faith which comes from the teacher who is faithful. Added to that by Paul is also “love.” A message can be mechanical, as if piecing together components of something. A message can be angry, it can be filled with bitterness, or it can be subversive. Such teachings are not in love. One can be wholly opposed to something, like abortion, but they can present the message in a stern but loving way. Righteous indignation does not have to include unrighteous anger.

To teach in faith and love then is what is proper, but there is already an example to follow. It is those “which are in Christ Jesus.” He is the object of our faith, and He is love. By contemplating His words, by following His example, and by speaking in a manner which emulates Him, the man of God will hold fast the pattern of sound words, in the proper way. But again, Paul says the pattern is the one “you have heard from me.” The gospel message to the Gentile led church is given by the hand of Paul. It outlines our doctrine in Christ Jesus, and it is to be adhered to and passed on in faith and love.

Life application: For sound church age doctrine, we are to follow Paul’s epistles as the outline. Everything else is to be taken in relation to them. Understanding this context will keep the rest of Scripture properly aligned for us as we read it and assimilate it into our lives.

Lord God, grant to us the wisdom of applying the proper context of Scripture to our lives, our doctrine, and our teaching. Amen.

2 Timothy 1:12

Saturday, 10 March 2018

For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day. 2 Timothy 1:12

“For this reason” speaks of Paul’s ministry. He “was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.” And these three were based on the gospel message. Therefore, it is his proclamation of the gospel message that, as he says, “I also suffer these things.” Paul was in prison at this time for his faithful proclamation of the gospel. But Timothy was well aware of much more suffering than just imprisonment. Paul had continuously been subjected to difficulty. He writes of such trials a couple times, but most notably in 2 Corinthians 11. There, in referring to himself in relation to others, he says –

“Are they ministers of Christ?—I speak as a fool—I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. 24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness— 28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation?” 2 Corinthians 11:23-29

Paul had suffered and yet endured through so much. It had been inflicted by the Romans, but it had also been inflicted by his own people. The note of having received stripes was a Jewish punishment. The note of having been beaten with rods was a Roman one. Both were considered corrective measures for malefactors. Thus they were designed to bring shame upon the person in order to change their attitude. But for these, and all other sufferings he says, “nevertheless I am not ashamed.”

His words here are certainly being given as an example to Timothy. He would also surely suffer as well if he faithfully carried out his duties. Paul had risen above the sufferings, and he felt no shame at proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ. Timothy is being encouraged to do likewise. It is a sentiment that Peter builds upon in his first epistle –

For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. 21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:

22 “Who committed no sin,
Nor was deceit found in His mouth.” 1 Peter 2:20-22

With this same noble attitude which is explained by Peter being found in Paul, he continues with the words, “for I know whom I have believed.” The word “believed” signifies “to trust” in this case. One can believe in something, but not trust in it. One can believe in the Supreme Court of the United States, but he may not always trust in the decisions they will render.

However, what Paul believes in is also his source of trust. He knew the work of Christ was of God. He knew that Christ’s work was sufficient to save him from his sins. He knew that in being declared guilt free, he was justified. He knew that in being justified, he was positionally glorified, and that he would be actually glorified someday. There was a deep-seated trust in this which could not be beaten out of him, and it could not be wrung out of him through imprisonment. It was steadfast in him to the end. As he says in confirmation of this, he is “persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him.”

What fear had Paul in any trial? What remorse had he in any public punishment? What temptation of walking away from the Lord did he have because of his suffering? There was nothing that could deter him from the course he had set because he knew the character of God. He is ever-faithful to keep that which is committed to Him. The body could be beaten, imprisoned, crushed, and brought to its end, but the bonds of even death itself had been defeated. The Jubilee for the captive had been proclaimed, and the human soul which belonged to God because of Christ was free. This was a certainty from the unchanging God who carefully tended to that which had been entrusted to Him “until that Day.”

The day he speaks of is the day when Christ will come for His people as described in 1 Corinthians 15 and 1 Thessalonians 4. Paul had already explained the doctrine of the rapture to the church in those epistles, something that Timothy was surely aware of. On that wondrous day, the soul would be united to an eternal body; one which would never suffer, never endure shame, and one which will possess a glory unimagined by man at this time. Paul knew this lay ahead, and so he stood ready to possess it without fear.

Life application: How certain are you of the faith you proclaim? How ready are you to suffer for it, or to even die for it? A little bit of faith is all that is needed to bring you to a right relationship with God. But exercising your faith through study of the word will cause it to deepen to a point that you can truly say, “No fear here. I belong to Christ. Nothing will diminish that.” Stay in the word, meditate on it always, and be grounded in what you believe.

Most glorious heavenly Father. Are we ready to face difficulties for our faith in Christ Jesus? Can we confidently say, “I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.” Are we so grounded in our faith that we are willing to proclaim it even when it will bring difficulty to our day? Help us to never shrink back from what we believe. May the certainty of Christ in us be the rule and guide for all we do. To Your glory we pray. Amen.

2 Timothy 1:11

Friday, 9 March 2018

…to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. 2 Timothy 1:11

The words, “to which” speak of the gospel referred to in the previous verse. It is the message of Christ Jesus, sent from God to save us, that Paul was “appointed a preacher.” The word is one which speaks of a herald, or a town crier who proclaims critical news for the public to hear and heed. It carries its own sense of authority in that the message is of another. In this case, he proclaims the message of Christ.

He then says, “an apostle.” This word simply means “sent one.” However, the term is inappropriately used by people today. An “apostle of Jesus Christ” means one commissioned by Him personally. Paul was appointed as an apostle of Jesus personally. His calling and commission are recorded in Acts. However, to use the title today is an error. The apostolic age of the church ended when the last appointed apostle of Jesus died. His word is complete, and therefore, there is no need for continuing with the foundation which has been laid.

Paul then says, “and a teacher of the Gentiles.” The words “of the Gentiles” is not found in some ancient manuscripts. Whether it is a later addition, or whether it was inadvertently dropped out of those other texts, it doesn’t change doctrine. It is already fully established elsewhere that Paul’s ministry was to the Gentiles. Here, it is noted that in this capacity, he was also a teacher. The word signifies someone who is known for his mastery in a particular field of learning. In the case of Paul, it is that he was a fully capable and competent teacher in theology.

Life application: It was Paul’s passion to preach the word, teach the word, and to fulfill his mission as one sent by Christ Jesus to the nations. Each of us has a responsibility to carry on that goal by either proclaiming Christ, or by supporting those who do. This is to include pastors, teachers, and missionaries. Have you been faithful in contributing to meeting these needs?

Lord God, please give us hearts which are willing to share what we have with those who are dedicated to spreading the message of Jesus. There are preachers, teachers, and missionaries who need to be tended to. Help us not just to be on the receiving end of their labors, but to assist them in their efforts. This is especially true with missionaries who often live on the total support of others in lands which can be most inhospitable. And spur us on to praying for these people as well. Give us such willing hearts, O God. Amen.

2 Timothy 1:10

Thursday, 8 March 2018

…but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 2 Timothy 1:10

Paul’s previous words spoke of the “grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.” Paul now shows that despite that grace having always existed in His eternal counsel, there was a particular point in time in which He chose to reveal it. An so he says, “but has now been revealed.” The grace was always there, but when the fullness of time had come, God entered into the stream of humanity, uniting with human flesh, in the Person of Jesus Christ. This is the revelation of that eternal grace, and it was done “by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ.”

A Savior implies the need to be saved. Man intuitively understands this, and he goes about life doing things to ease his nagging conscience, and to justify his good standing among others, and in order to appease the God he knows he must face someday. However, if God sent Jesus Christ as Savior, it means that man still needed to be saved. It is not of works, but of grace, by which salvation of the human comes. Christ came to make this grace known. The wages of sin is death. This is why men die; but it is through the grace “of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death” that sin is dealt with.

If God has abolished death through Christ Jesus, then that means that sin has no power over the one who is saved. It takes us back to Paul’s words of 2 Corinthians 5:18, 19 –

“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.”

Jesus Christ is the Savior. In order to save, He must eradicate sin (through which is earned the wages of death). In His atoning, substitutionary death, Christ Jesus has dealt with the sin problem – once and for all for those who believe – so that God, who is in Christ, can fellowship with man once again. And for those in Christ, He is “not imputing their trespasses to them.” If no sin is imputed for those in Christ, then death can no longer be imputed as well. That is why Paul can say that Christ Jesus “has abolished death.” But more, He has “brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”

It is the gospel – this marvelous grace of God which is revealed in Christ Jesus – which brings to light the “life and immortality” which had been lost since the fall of man. The word translated as “immortality” literally means, “no corruption.” Man disobeyed God, and he fell from grace. He was exiled from the Garden of Eden and his body began the process of corruption; eventually he died and returned to the earth from which he was created. This has continued on for all men since then.

The sin is inherited, and thus all men follow this same pattern. But Jesus came without sin, died in fulfillment of the law, and – as man’s Substitute – took away our sin. As Paul says, in Colossians 2:14, “having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.”

The law, through which sin is made known, is taken out of the way. And because Christ Jesus had no sin of His own, He was resurrected to eternal life. Sin is dealt with, and life and immortality are revealed – all in one fell swoop. Christ has completed the task and shown the grace of God to man. For those who accept this, only life and immorality are left! This is why sin is no longer imputed to those in Christ as seen above. We are “in” Christ, and thus shall live forever.

Can there be found a better verse for eternal salvation? No, probably not. Paul says in Romans 8:38, 39 –

“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

If we are a part of creation, and nothing in creation can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord, then salvation, by default, must be eternal. Sin is not imputed, the law is annulled and so sin cannot even be charged, and we are “in Christ.” Deal done; Christ has won! Glorious victory has been realized upon Calvary’s tree.

Life application: That you could ever lose your salvation is a concept so foreign to the writings of the Bible, that it is beyond comprehension that this (false) doctrine is taught. Beware of anyone who would so tarnish the glorious message of Christ that they would dare presume to say that those who are “in Christ” could ever be separated from Christ! Jesus Christ did not come to give His people eternal insecurity. Be of good cheer, you are saved despite yourself.

Lord God, how often we slip and fall short of Your marvelous standard of holiness. And how painful it is to consider having done so. But for those who have received the gift of Your Son, we have no worry that we have forever distanced ourselves from You. Rather, You have already dealt with the sin-problem once and for all. We are redeemed and forever on the path to glory. Thank You for this wonderful reassurance when we fall short. Amen.

2 Timothy 1:9

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

…who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, 2 Timothy 1:9

The words now describe “the gospel according to the power of God” of the previous verse. It is through this gospel message that God “has saved us,” meaning all who have believed the message of salvation (Romans 10:9, 10). Paul writes the words as an accomplished action, “has saved us.” There is no question in his mind of the certainty of the action. Just as Christ cried out, “It is finished,” so it is in the believer. With this understanding, he then says, “and called us with a holy calling.”

Though the two thoughts occur simultaneously, they are two separate things. God has saved us through Christ’s work, and God has called us through the work of the Holy Spirit. The calling is both for salvation, and it is of salvation. We are called through the hearing of the word which leads to salvation, and we are called into holiness because of the salvation obtained. This process is “with a holy calling.” The thought here speaks of our being separated from sin by the work of the Spirit. The believer is brought into a new state before God because of the calling. However, Paul continues with, “not according to our works.”

The entire process is one of God. All works of man are excluded from the process. In other words, one does not become holy by becoming a monk and separating himself from the world around him. Nor does one become holy by scourging himself in a public demonstration of repentance. Nor does one become holy by being ordained as a pastor, preacher, or priest. There is nothing we can do to merit this process except believe in the work of Christ. As belief is not considered a work (Romans 3:27), it is the free-will choice of man – responding to the work of Christ, through the Holy calling of the Spirit – which then results in the salvation which was offered. All work is of God “according to His own purpose and grace.”

These words do not exclude free-will at all. Rather, in the next clause this will become evident. For now, God determined the means of salvation from beginning to end. Further, it is for His own reasons that He has accomplished the process. Everything about salvation is according to God’s purposes. Man’s desires or attempts to merit salvation are excluded. It is solely an act of grace. Grace cannot be earned or merited. It is simply an offer based on God’s goodness. To do something in order to obtain grace nullifies the grace. It must simply be received as grace.

Paul then finishes up by saying that this process is one “which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.” These words show that “according to His own purpose” is not speaking of the present time, but of all time. One cannot use Paul’s words to say that free will is excluded. If God’s plan was to save men through Christ, before man was even created, then everything about the process was decided upon at that time. If God’s decision was that “I will send Jesus, and all who believe will be saved” is the necessary response for salvation, then that is how salvation comes about. The grace is “given” not “determined.” This is important to understand.

When something is given, it is done so as an offer. An offer can be received, or it can be declined. The words “according to His own purpose” is not speaking about “who” would be saved, but “how” salvation would come about. This is the predestination that the Bible speaks of. It is not speaking of a selection of certain people who will be chosen by God to be saved. Instead, it speaks of a selection of a certain people who will choose God’s offer in order to be saved.

The reason this distinction is so important to remember is because it sets the tone for everything which follows after salvation. Will one’s walk with the Lord will be one of gratitude, or smugness? Will one be desirous of telling others the gospel, or will they assume that God has chosen others apart from our getting the word out (see Romans 10:14-17)? The list could go on, but it all comes back to how one views what has occurred in the salvation process.

Life application: If you have not willingly received Jesus Christ, believing in His work, you have not been saved. If you have, you are saved – forever. Salvation is of God, and therefore it is fully sufficient to save, and it is a complete and eternal salvation.

Heavenly Father! It is so wonderful to rise in the morning and to share in Your goodness each day. Everything that we experience – from the food we eat, to the flowers we smell, and everything else along the way – is an expression of Your care and love for us. May we always be grateful for the many blessings You give us, but may our hearts be especially grateful for the Gift of Jesus our Lord. Thank You for Your kind hand of grace upon us. Amen.