“Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David–that is my gospel, for which I suffer hardship, even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But the word of God is not chained.
Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, so that they may also obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.( 2 Timothy 2:8 – 10)
So here I am again, trying to wend my way through an epistle passage while still recovering from my cold or whatever it is (or was by the time you read this, beloved reader). It is comforting to know that by the time you read this, I will be feeling much better. Remember though when I write it, I was struggling.
According to Paul, he was struggling too. And I concede to him that his was the greater battle, and for a more worthy cause! I am also reminded that spreading the Word of God, in his time, was a risky and revolutionary thing to do. The same could be said for our time, but in our modern world there are more safe havens to spread the Word of God in. For Paul it was all risk all the time. I think though Paul saw the potential for greater reward in this risk however.
“The saying is sure: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he will also deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful– for he cannot deny himself.” (Verses 11 – 13)
Did you note the seemingly non-matched parallels? If we give our all to Jesus and the Lord God the Divine, then we will receive all that the Divine has to give. But if we turn our backs on the Divine, the Divine will not receive us. But if we are faithless . . . . the Divine will be what? So I went to consult my favorite commentator, Albert Barnes and he put it very clearly (thank you Barnes!) “The meaning must be, that if we are unbelieving and unfaithful, Christ will remain true to his word, and we cannot hope to be saved. “
“Remind them of this, and warn them before God that they are to avoid wrangling over words, which does no good but only ruins those who are listening. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly explaining the word of truth.” (Verses 14 – 15)
I remind you, beloved reader, Paul was in chains when he wrote this to Timothy. And come to think of it, Jeremiah was probably also kept captive when he wrote to the captive Israelites. (Just a nice reminder of what some had to endure for the sake of faith.) Even when Paul was in chains, it did not stop or stifle him from reaching out through letters. Jeremiah reached out to the captives in Babylon and encouraged them, despite his own problems. The Israelites were reminded to rise above their sense of grief and loss to make a life for themselves. And we, beloved reader, are reminded to be the best Christian believers that we can be, despite whatever our circumstances are. That deserves repeating – despite what is going on around us, we are to reflect the care and compassion, the unwavering belief, truth and example that Jesus Christ was for us. Selah!