Friday, March 30, 2012

2 Timothy 2:1-7

Vs. 1 “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”
The Apostle Paul’s emphasis on grace here is harkening back to what he said in verses nine and ten about God saving and calling us with a holy calling, not according to our works (as if we deserve it, or are somehow disqualified from His salvation and service based on our past sins or lifestyle) rather God saved us and called us with a holy calling according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began. Therefore rather looking at ourselves we should steadfastly be looking at Christ and what He has done to both save and qualified and Spirit equipped us for His purposes. Being strong in grace allows one to do that to always see themselves and others in the light of the cross and what Jesus has done to justify us through it. For there will be distracters both outside and within who will seek to discourage you. Not to mention the Accuser of the brethren who so delights in finding fault and stirring up others to do likewise so as to undermine not only ones own sense of peace and security, but also the unity of Spirit in the bond of peace. Therefore be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus and you will overcome him by the shed blood of the Lamb (Rev. 12:11).

Now regarding grace it is foundational to both the individual believers redemption as well as the churches well being. For there are two fundamental errors that every generation faces: dedication to the Law as if our righteousness comes through ourselves (Gal. 2:19-21). While the other extreme is the propagation or permitting of sin under the guise of living by grace (Rom. 6:1-14). Nonetheless God’s grace that is in Christ Jesus only saves us by Jesus' atoning work on the cross, and having saved us from our sins and the judgment to come we should walk in newness of life with Him (Rom. 6:4). A newness of life, which entails our putting to death by the Holy Spirit the sinful deeds of our flesh (Gal. 5:16-21). For nothing comes to us through Christ’s salvation because we deserve it (vs. 9) or have earned it (Rom. 4:4-5). All that we have and are comes to us only by the righteousness and grace of God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Rom. 3:21-26). Now as we grow in our understanding of God’s grace dealings with us, we will become more graceful in our dealings with others as well. Since it is only God’s grace that is given to us in Christ Jesus that makes us to stand and withstand all that we will have to overcome in this life. Therefore unless your foundation is justification by faith in Jesus Christ alone (Rom. 5:1); then obeying His commandments as an essential part of being His disciple, you'll be building on sand (Matt. 7:21-29).

Vs. 2 "And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also."

The Apostle Paul having commended Timothy to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus now commands him to commit the things that he has heard from him among many witnesses to faithful men who will be able to teach others. For just as the Apostle Paul was not ashamed of the Lord Jesus Christ’s testimony declaring the Lord’s life; death, resurrection and ascension in the presence of many others; so must Timothy unashamedly declare and commit Christ’s Testimony and Words to faithful men who can teach others as well. For there is an ever present danger in every generation of believers of drifting from the churches most important mission given us, which is to go and make disciples of all nations. The Lord Jesus Christ said: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. Matt. 28:18-20
Therefore though there are many just and worthy social causes in this world, the most pressing need of humanity is always to hear, believe and obey the gospel. For if that is addressed first, all other problems in the human sphere of sins, problems and conflicts can be peaceably and justly resolved.

Vs. 3 "You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ."

The Apostle Paul now commands Timothy that he must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. Just as all of us who believe in and seek to faithfully follow Jesus Christ in discipleship will have to endure hardships. Not just life’s afflictions and hardships, but also hardships and sometimes evils and injustices specifically for Jesus Christ and gospel’s sake; for union with Christ assures us all as much (Phil. 3:10). Yet it is by these that our faith is being perfected (Col. 1:24). For every believer must share in Jesus Christ’s sufferings if they expect to share in His consolation and glories (John 16:33; Acts 14:22; Rom. 8:17-18; 2 Cor. 1:3-7; Col. 1:24; 1 Peter 4:12-13). Therefore “…if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter. 17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?

18 Now “If the righteous one is scarcely saved,
Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?”
19 Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God
commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator. 1 Peter 4:16-19

Now it is because of believers universally suffering troubles from the world, Satan (John 15:18-25; 1 Peter 5:8-9) and even from the children of Hagar i.e. "religious people" of works (Gal. 4:21-31) that the Body of Christ must take note of such and be the heart of God towards them and comfort them
when they do (Isaiah 40:1; 1 Cor. 12:18-26; Rom. 12:15; 1 Thess. 5:11).

Vs. 4 "No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier."

The Apostle Paul then having exhorted Timothy (and us) to endure hardships as a good solider of Jesus Christ now warns us that: “No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.” The Apostle Paul’s exhortation here should not be misunderstood as disengagement or isolation from this life, it's problems and or our responsibilities in it (Consider 1 Cor. 5:9-10; 1 Tim. 5:8; 2 Thess. 3:10 etc.). Conversely the word the Apostle Paul uses that is translated entangled means to "fill up". That is to have ones time filled up with the affairs of this life. Being busy with this life's affairs is not necessarily being fruitful for the Kingdom’s sake. The Lord Jesus’ parable of the Sower is a warning to us all about this (See Matt. 13:1-9, 18-23; Mark 4:1-9, 13-19). Therefore as believers we need to strike a balance in our lives and not become Christian "isolationists" as past generations of various denominational stripes have mistakenly done utterly removing themselves from greater society; neither than should we become so engaged and focused on this world's affairs as to forsake our true calling and purpose. Therefore engagement in all areas of life yes; entanglement in this life's affairs, no.

Vs. 5-7 "And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. 6 The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops.  7 Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things."

To make his point about this the Apostle Paul gives a series of metaphors drawing an analogy of the believer following Jesus Christ in discipleship with that of a preserving solider who endures hardships to please the one who enlisted him (vs. 4); an athlete who competes according to the rules in order to be crowned (vs. 5); and a hard working farmer who is rewarded at the harvest by being first to partake of the crops (vs. 6). These three characteristics: Perseverance under trial (John 16:33); obedience and personal discipline in life (1 Cor. 9:27); and diligence in serving Jesus Christ (Rom. 12:11; Titus 2:14) are foundational to the Christian who desires to be fruitful in his endeavors for the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore like a solider duty bound to serve in his post so must we remain faithful in whatever calling Jesus Christ has called and equipped each of us to do if we hope to please our Commander and Chief. The Apostle Paul concludes by saying to Timothy to consider what he has said asking that the Lord give him understanding in all things. Just as He gives understanding to all who truly seek to know Him and obey Him. The Lord Jesus said: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” Matt. 7:7-8

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

No comments:

Post a Comment