V77Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.. It appears to me that the examples in the previous verses are in plain language. Nevertheless Paul points out emphatically to Timothy that he has to bear in mind what he just said. “Consider” means to grasp with the mind, to ponder on it, to think it over. Paul admonishes Timothy here in the sense of an order. He wants Timothy to understand the real meaning of the examples he used by considering them. This attitude is of course important when reading the whole Word of God. You obtain insight from the Lord when you consider His Word. You will learn to understand His thoughts.
Here you see, like often in the Scripture, the connection between what you should do and what the Lord does. The more you ponder on the Scripture and meditate it, the more the activity of the Holy Spirit grows to clarify the teaching of it. If you are restfully and peacefully engaged in His Word in God’s presence, the Lord will come to you and give you insight. Not by using your intellect – although it is not separated from it – but by the working of the Holy Spirit you dig into the Divine matters and understand them.
V88Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel,. With all meditation on the Scripture it is important that you “remember Jesus Christ”. It is all about Him, He is the center of all God’s thoughts. Understanding in everything is first of all understanding in Who Jesus Christ is and what He has done.
Paul also helps you on the way by mentioning two main points of the truth that relate to Christ (cf. Rom 1:33concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh,). In the first place you ought to remember Him as “risen from the dead”. What do you think of when you consider Him as the Resurrected from the dead? Then you think of God, Who is able to establish something completely new by His creating and life giving power. The resurrection of the Lord Jesus is the proof and the beginning of it. God has got nothing to do with the world, sin and death. He has to judge over those issues. What Christ has done opens a new world with new people where everything is in accordance with God and where Christ is the Center.
There is another thing that you should remember in relation to Jesus Christ and that is that He is “descendant of David”. That determines you that God is faithful to the promises He made to His people Israel. He will fulfill all those promises. In the future Israel shall dwell again in the land that God has given them. In that land the Lord Jesus will be seated as the true Son of David, as the promised Messiah on the throne of His father David in the city of His father David. Then from Jerusalem He will rule the world in peace and righteousness.
Again, as ‘risen from the dead’ He is now the living Lord in heaven. He lives there to always intercede for you before God (Rom 8:3434who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.; Heb 7:2525Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.). He knows how difficult it is to remain faithful to God’s Word as a loner. Regarding the phrase ‘descendant of David’ you may reflect that to the fact that the suffering will come to an end when He comes to reign. Then the things on earth will be like they are in heaven: totally in accordance with God. By remembering Him in this way it will strengthen you to live to His honor in these later days.
What Paul says doesn’t deviate from what he calls “my gospel”. That means that he has proclaimed this in his preaching of the gospel and he himself has kept it in remembrance. That is why he has persevered up till now and has not given up. Therefore he is also still powerful in the faith and is able to encourage Timothy by that. What he writes now applies to all ages, also for now and also for you.
V99for which I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the word of God is not imprisoned.. On the basis of the preaching of the gospel and his commitment to it he endures these things. He is no evildoer, for he has not committed any legal offence. Paul receives the same treatment like the two crucified next to the Lord Jesus, who are also called evildoers (Lk 23:32,3932Two others also, who were criminals, were being led away to be put to death with Him.39One of the criminals who were hanged [there] was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!”). It makes clear what society thinks of them and of him. People bracket them in the same category as such people. Above all he is here in the footstep of his Master Who “was numbered with the transgressors” (Isa 53:1212Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great,
And He will divide the booty with the strong;
Because He poured out Himself to death,
And was numbered with the transgressors;
Yet He Himself bore the sin of many,
And interceded for the transgressors.).
He was so impressed by the gospel that he would do anything for it. His hands may be chained, but the Word of God cannot possibly be chained. His faith in its power is maintained unbroken. The power of God’s Word cannot possibly be limited or abolished by anything from man. Its advancement will move on. It will convince hearts and consciences and will liberate people from spiritual chains. The Word of God will conquer any adversary.
Man is like grass that fades, but the Word of God lasts forever, it remains to eternity (Isa 40:6-86A voice says, “Call out.”
Then he answered, “What shall I call out?”
All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.
7The grass withers, the flower fades,
When the breath of the LORD blows upon it;
Surely the people are grass.
8The grass withers, the flower fades,
But the word of our God stands forever.
; 1Pet 1:24-2524For, “All flesh is like grass, And all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, And the flower falls off,25But the word of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the word which was preached to you.). When an instrument is being hindered to actively spread the gospel by imprisonment or death, God will deploy new instruments. Are you deployable?
V1010For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus [and] with [it] eternal glory.. Despite the fact that Paul is deactivated, regarding the preaching, he is not deactivated regarding his involvement. His imprisonment and suffering are a part of it. Paul knows that God is using his chains and hardships to reach and bless “the elect”. That’s why he puts everything on the line to make that happen. He doesn’t think of his own pain and hardships, but he thinks of the elect. For their sake he endures everything.
Also in this way he looks like his Lord. The Lord Jesus has also endured all things for the sake of the elect. In His atoning work for each of the elect He is of course unique. Regarding this no one is able to follow Him or share it with Him. You are indeed able to share in His devotion and suffering that was caused by men. That is a privilege.
Paul’s heart goes out to all who will be saved by the preaching of the gospel. The more who are saved the more the glory of the Lord Jesus will be multiplied (Pro 14:28a28In a multitude of people is a king’s glory,
But in the dearth of people is a prince’s ruin.). God has people in mind who He wants to save. In His counsel He has also decided that they will be saved. You didn’t know that before the gospel reached you and you came to faith. You have also no idea who God has taken into His counsel to be saved. That is totally God’s business and not yours.
What you are to keep in mind is that God wants all people to be saved. Therefore the gospel is to be preached to all people. God’s love goes out to all people (Jn 3:1616“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.). That’s how it should also be with us (2Cor 5:1414For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died;). That the elect will accept it is another encouragement to endure all adversary and rejection. It is because of them. It is presented here as if it depends on your dedication that the elect will indeed be saved. After that salvation an eternal glory follows. That is also the part of the elect. Paul is not satisfied with less than that. Are you?
V1111It is a trustworthy statement: For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him;. For the fourth time Paul points out that it is a trustworthy statement (1Tim 1:1515It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost [of all].; 3:11It is a trustworthy statement: if any man aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires [to do].; 4:99It is a trustworthy statement deserving full acceptance.). In the next letter he repeats it one more time (Tit 3:88This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men.). It refers to what he just has said; you can count on it. It also applies to what follows after that. He confirms again that the Word remains, although he is not able to continue his service. You find everything in it that you need to find out how God wants you to live and what His plans are with you, the church, Israel and the world.
The starting point is that you died with Christ. You ought not to take the word “if” as a doubt or insecurity, but in the sense of ‘because it is so’. Because it is so that you have “died with Him”, then living for yourself has ended, a life that you lived without considering God. You have acknowledged that you have lived in sin as a sinner and that God had to throw you into hell for that. The answer of God to that confession was His gospel. Therein He made known to you that Christ has gone through the judgment and that He judged you in Him. When Christ died, you died with Him.
But Christ did not remain in death. He rose. And therefore you also rose and live. Only you do not live for yourself anymore, but for Him (Gal 2:2020I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the [life] which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.). If that would mean that you like Christ would have to die the martyr’s death, then you will like Christ indeed live and also with Him.
V12a12If we endure, we will also reign with Him; if we deny Him, He also will deny us;. Actually, to die the martyr’s death is just not for everyone. Surely everyone who testifies of the Lord Jesus will experience a form of suffering. On the other hand the endurance of that means that you will reign with Him. The coming kingdom is related here with suffering (cf. Acts 14:2222strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and [saying], “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.”; Rom 8:1717and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with [Him] so that we may also be glorified with [Him].; 2Thes 1:4-54therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure.5[This is] a plain indication of God’s righteous judgment so that you will be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which indeed you are suffering.). Having some insight in that great future where you will reign together with the Lord Jesus, gives strength today to endure slander and rejection. Reigning soon with Him is a reward for enduring now.
You see that reigning with Him still doesn’t occur yet. Our task now is not to reign but endure. Earlier Paul already told that to the Corinthians too, who also wanted to take some advance on reigning in the millennial kingdom of peace, because they didn’t want to endure slander (1Cor 4:8-138You are already filled, you have already become rich, you have become kings without us; and indeed, [I] wish that you had become kings so that we also might reign with you.9For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men.10We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor.11To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless;12and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure;13when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, [even] until now.). The Lord Jesus has given the perfect example when He was being abused and said to Pilate: “But as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm” (Jn 18:3636Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”).
V12b12If we endure, we will also reign with Him; if we deny Him, He also will deny us;. After having used several times a positive ‘if’ with the corresponding promise, now several times a negative ‘if’ follows with a corresponding result. To “deny” Christ means to deny against better judgment to know Him. That happens when people confess to be in relation with Christ but deny that relation before other people.
A clear example you have in the denial by Peter (Mt 26:69-7469Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard, and a servant-girl came to him and said, “You too were with Jesus the Galilean.”70But he denied [it] before them all, saying, “I do not know what you are talking about.”71When he had gone out to the gateway, another [servant-girl] saw him and *said to those who were there, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.”72And again he denied [it] with an oath, “I do not know the man.”73A little later the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Surely you too are [one] of them; for even the way you talk gives you away.”74Then he began to curse and swear, “I do not know the man!” And immediately a rooster crowed.). Of Peter we know very well that he is a believer, for he has confessed this sin and the Lord has forgiven him. Therefore this sin can be committed by any believer. When that happens the Lord has to deny that believer, as He had to deny Peter too. From the moment that Peter denied the Lord Jesus, the Lord said to His Father that He did not know Peter.
That doesn’t mean that the Lord did not keep an eye on Peter and didn’t bring him to repentance (Lk 22:6161The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, “Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.”). But until the moment of repentance the Lord denied before His Father that He knew Peter. This denial by the Lord also implies that Peter lost the blessing and reward that he received if he had not denied the Lord. The denying of the Lord has therefore a consequence for today and for the future.
Also people who only confess with their lips that they know the Lord address Him with “Lord, Lord” (Mt 7:2121“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven [will enter].), will find themselves in situations that they deny Him. The Lord will deny them too, but the consequences will then be endlessly worse. They will be denied by Him forever (Mt 10:3333But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.; 7:22-2322Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’23And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’).
Now read 2 Timothy 2:7-12 again.
Reflection: What do you learn here about the Lord Jesus and your relation to Him?