2 Timothy 2:10-13(NIV) 10Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. 11Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; 12if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; 13if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.
Paul has just reminded Timothy about the importance of speaking the truth about God. It is the Word of God which is important in Timothy’s life because it is the very power of God. The importance of knowing and understanding the Word of God is paramount in our lives. It is so easy to pervert the word and lead people astray. It was happening in the church at Ephesus already. Being truthful with God’s word means suffering the consequences. Paul is in chains in prison for his testimony and preaching of the Gospel, which is the word of God. That word is not chained but will accomplish everything that God intended it to.
Isaiah 55:10-11(NIV) 10As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, 11so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
Salvation only comes when we believe the Word of God. This is faith. No one is saved without God’s word penetrating their soul. God has chosen men to spread the Word through preaching. Paul is stressing this point to Timothy so he can continue in the ministry which God has called him to.
1 Corinthians 1:20-25(NIV) 20Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.
Hebrews 4:12-13(NIV) 12For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double–edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
Paul begins in verse 10 of 2 Timothy by saying that because the word of God saves, especially the Gospel, he will never quit preaching and sharing, lest one of the elect fail to receive the word. His whole purpose in life is to bring all that God has called into the family of faith. It was worth all the torture and abuse that has happened to know that he was faithful to God and the Gospel. His love for humanity is manifested in the statement above. He endured all things so that he can preach the Word and bring as many as believed to eternal glory with Christ. Talk about a burden for the lost. What would happen in the world today if we had the same burden as Paul?
Paul then gives a poem that sums up what the unchained word of God accomplishes.
- If we died with him, we will also live with him. This first stanza alludes to the fact that Christ died for our sins and the only way for that to be efficacious in our lives is to believe in Him. There is a saying that kind of goes along with this. Born once die twice, born twice, die once. What occurs upon believing in Christ is the escape of the second death which is eternal damnation. Christ has already died in your place you you have victory over that second death through His death. That is why we say we have died with Christ and it is what baptism represents. We have died with Christ and we are resurrected with Him. Paul alludes to this in Romans:
Romans 6:5-10(NIV) 5If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 6For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. 8Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
- if we endure, we will also reign with him. Enduring doesn’t mean you can somehow lose your salvation. The only criteria for salvation is dying with Christ mentioned above. This statement indicates your dedication to Christ after salvation. There are rewards for those who are faithful to Christ. Paul is our example of one who is faithful and endured to the end. He never stopped putting Christ first. So should we. There are rewards for faithful service. We are reminded in Luke of these rewards. In the parable of the ten minas we see this principle in action.
- If we disown him, he will also disown us; This is a warning about those who claim to be of Christ’s but are not. They are the apostates who will try to destroy the church by bringing in false teachings.
- if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself. This is typical of most Christians today. They choose to not be true servants of God, yet they have faith in Him. This departs from the future tense and brings us to the present. Human’s have a sin nature, and will stray from God during their life after salvation. The very nature of God demands that he cannot be faithless in return. God is faithful to His word and His promises no matter what. This is a very important principle. If you place your faith and trust in Christ, God cannot ever be anything but faithful to His promise of eternal life that was demonstrated in the first stanza of the poem. If you died with Christ He is faithful to give you eternal life. It is only when you fail to die with Christ that you are subject to the third stanza. If you reject the salvation promised you will suffer the second death and be rejected by God. If you have trusted in Christ then you are secure in His love and faithfulness, even though you fail to be faithful to Him. What a tremendous God we have who can do this for us. All praise goes to Him.