Saturday, March 24, 2012

2 Timothy 1:8-12

Vs. 8 Therefore since God has given us all who believe in Jesus a spirit of power, love and sound mind (vs. 7) Timothy need not be ashamed of his faith in Jesus Christ. The same things apply also to us who likewise believe in Christ. For think about what you once were and what Jesus has done for you, setting you free from your sins and the judgment to come and giving you eternal life. Therefore do not ashamed of Him or the glorious gospel but always be thankful. As the Apostle Paul here encourages Timothy not to be ashamed of the testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ, nor the Apostle Paul His prisoner, but rather to “…share with him in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God.” vs. 8 For ultimately this is each and every believers destiny to suffer for Jesus Christ and the gospel's sake. For some it may mean rejection and ridicule by their friends and peers for their confession and obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. For others it may mean that the closest of family members will turn against them for their faith in Christ (Matt. 10:34-39). Whatever the scenario each and every believer will suffer rejection, ridicule and persecution of whatever sorts from this lawless and evil world just as our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ did (John 15:18; 1 John 3:13-15). And just as Jesus had to endure temptations and trials from Satan, the god of this world, so must we (1 Peter 5:8-9; Rev. 12:17). Now don't be overwhelmed by all of this. For truly this is what each and every believer has gone though down through the centuries, and will continue to go through until the Lord's return and His Kingdom's establishment on earth. Nonetheless as Jesus has said He has not left us as orphans in this world until that Day. But has given us His Spirit until His return, and thus it is by the Power of God that we can likewise overcome. For it is God’s Spirit's Power working through us who not only preserves our souls (Eph. 4:30) but also makes us bold and fruitful in our witness for the Lord Jesus Christ (Consider Matt. 10:16-20; Luke 12:11-12; Acts 1:8). That is why the Apostle Paul can be so positive about this; even inviting Timothy (and us all) to share in the sufferings for the gospel according to the Power of God. For being In Christ means we are not only eternally secure (2 Cor. 1:21, 22; 5:5; Eph. 1:13-14), already having all our sins forgiven (Col. 2:13) but it means we are guaranteed the victory over this world and it's god, by our faith in Jesus (1 John 5:4). Therefore believers are never to be ashamed of the testimony; nor the Word of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Mark 8:38; Rev. 21:8).

Vs. 9-10 Therefore since it is God who has both saved us and called us with a holy calling into Christ's Kingdom and service; not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began we should not be tacit about our faith in Jesus. 

Timothy then must not doubt the Apostle’s or his own calling, nor should he be shaken by Paul’s or his own sufferings for the gospel; since all believers are not only called to believe in Jesus Christ the Lord but again we are going to suffer for Him (John 15:19). Now when we are hated by the world we should not be discouraged but rather rejoice for being counted worthy to suffer for Christ’s sake. For Jesus has already said: “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matt. 5:11-12

Therefore these things should not dampen our resolve to witness and serve Jesus Christ but rather affirm to us that our calling and purposes are unmistakably intertwined with His (See 1 Peter 3:13-18). The other point, which is equally important, is this did not come to us because of us. Being both called and saved by the grace of God begins with God (Rom. 9:11; 1 Peter 1:2). Therefore the individual who feels utterly unqualified then is amazingly qualified because of what God has done through Jesus to qualify us all (Rom. 3:19-28). For only those sinners who see their need for Jesus Christ will enter His Kingdom (Luke 18:9-14). Consider then the Apostle Paul’s self-renunciation of his own pedigree and personal achievements in regards to having any efficacy, both in regards to salvation and his standing as a believer (Phil 3:4-10). Therefore everyone who hopes to attain to everlasting life must first make a personal decision for Jesus Christ, resting their hope fully upon Him. For nobody comes into God’s family and Christ's Kingdom any other way (John 1:12; 3:3-5; 14:6; Rev. 3:20). Those then who grew up in the faith are no more deserving or qualified then those came to faith In Jesus Christ later in life, Jesus’ parable about the hired workers makes that abundantly clear (Matt. 20:1-16). Therefore the Apostle’s mentioning Timothy’s mothers and grandmother’s faith was not making faith in Jesus Christ a generational issue. It was to encourage Timothy that the true faith he saw in them, he also saw in Timothy as well. And since we all stumble, we will all need to be reaffirmed at various times in our lives with Christ (2 Cor. 2:5-11; Gal. 6:1-2). Now God does not call us all at the same time, or through the same types of life circumstances. But God does call us from, and often out of, a diversity of life’s experiences. So that our faith is not in ourselves, but in God who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through Jesus Christ’s gospel. For it wasn’t until Jesus Christ appeared resurrected from the dead that God’s abolishment of death for those who believe was fully revealed and ennacted (vs. 10). Therefore as each person in each generation comes to believe in the crucified and resurrected Lord Jesus Christ so God’s designs for them begin to unfold according to His own predetermined plans and purposes.

Vs. 11. Therefore the Apostle says after having been saved by the grace of God, he was also appointed by that same grace to be “…a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.”

Three essential things that God has appointed and equiped the Apostle Paul to do: to preach; to lead; and to teach. And that is why you are Holy Spirit equipped the way you are; all which has nothing to do with your having done something to deserve salvation or whatever Spirit gifts you have. For as in salvation it has everything to do with God’s own purposes for us, given to us, in Christ Jesus before time began. For it is God out of His immeasurable love for us who has both 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.” vs. 10

Vs. 12 Therefore it is for this reason that the Apostle Paul is suffering these things, that is persecution and imprisonment because he is being obedient to his calling as a preacher, an Apostle and a teacher of the gospel, and thus Paul's sufferings are not for sinful or evil acts, but for Christ's and the gospel’s sake. Just as the Apostle Peter commands us all “But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters.” 1 Peter 4:15 Therefore the Apostle Paul though being imprisoned for the gospel knowing his own calling and purposes are In Christ declares: “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.” The Apostle Paul then was not discouraged by his trying circumstances, just as we should not to be by ours if we are obeying the Lord in whatever calling He has placed on our lives, though things may not be all that we think they should be. Since our standing with God does not change when these do.

Scripture Quotations
The New King James Version. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1982,

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