The Appeal Renewed
You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
There is nothing that can make us as strong as saying, “I am a child of God in Jesus Christ” and “I have the love and favor of God even though I don’t deserve it.” That is the strength that comes by grace.
Paul knew what it was like to receive the strength of God’s grace, as he explained in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 — And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. He could encourage Timothy like this from his own life experience.
2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. 3 Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.
The solider who stops fighting before the battle is finished will never see victory.
5 Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules.
The athlete who stops running before the race is over will never win the race.
6 The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops.
The farmer who stops working before the harvest is complete will never see the fruit of his crops.
7 Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.
8 Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained.
The Bible has been attacked more than any other book through history. It has been burned, banned, mocked, twisted, and ignored – but the word of God still stands forever. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever (Isaiah 40:8).
10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.
11 Here is a trustworthy saying:
If we died with him,
we will also live with him;
12 if we endure,
we will also reign with him.
If we disown him,
he will also disown us;
13 if we are faithless,
he remains faithful,
for he cannot disown himself.
Dealing With False Teachers
14 Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
“Swords are meant to cut and hack, and wound, and kill with, and the word of truth is for pricking men in the heart and killing their sins. The word of God is not committed to God’s ministers to amuse men with its glitter, nor to charm them with the jewels in its hilt, but to conquer their souls for Jesus.”
–Charles Haddon Spurgeon
16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. 17 Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have departed from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some. 19 Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”
20 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. 21 Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.
Some of these vessels are made of gold and silver, and some are made of wood and clay. Some are used on occasions of great honor (the gold and silver vessels), and some are used for dishonor–such as a garbage can or an ashtray. The latter things are the things of dishonor mentioned in 2 Timothy 2:20. If we cleanse ourselves from dishonorable things, God will regard us as vessels of honor, sanctified and useful for the Master.
22 Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.
from Streams in the Desert, for June 11
“The servant of the Lord must…be gentle.” (2 Tim 2:24)
When God finally conquers us and changes our unyielding nature, we receive deep insights into the Spirit of Jesus. Then, as never before, we see His extraordinary gentleness of spirit at work in this dark and unheavenly world. Yet the gifts of “the fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22) do not automatically become evident in our lives. If we are not discerning enough to recognize their availability to us, to desire them, and then to nourish them in our thoughts, they will never become embedded in our nature of behavior. Every further step of spiritual growth in God’s grace must be preceded by acknowledging our lack of Godly attribute and then by exhibiting a prayerful determination to obtain it.
However, very few Christians are willing to endure the suffering through which complete gentleness is obtained. We must die to ourselves before we are turned into gentleness, and our crucifixion involves suffering. It will mean experiencing genuine brokenness and a crushing of self, which will be used to afflict the heart and conquer the mind.
Today many people are attempting to use their mental capacity and logical thinking to obtain sanctification (ie. Chist-likeness), yet this is nothing but a religious fabrication. They believe that if they just mentally put themselves on the altar and believe the altar provides the gift of sanctification, they can then logically conclude they are fully sanctified. Then they go happily on their way, expressing their flippant, theological babble about the “deep” things of God.
Yet the heartstrings of the old nature have not been broken, and their unyielding character, which they inherited from Adam, has not been ground to powder. Their soul has not throbbed with the lonely, gushing groans of Gethsemane. Having no scars from their death on Calvary, they will exhibit nothing of the soft, sweet, gentle, restful, victorious, overflowing, and triumphant life that flows like a spring morning from an empty tomb.
25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.
2 Timothy 2:11-13 is thought to be a fragment of an early Christian hymn. I love that last thought: if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself. Always, God is faithful. HERE are these verses put to song.