Have any of the following questions ever crossed your mind: Does God really care about me? Does He understand what I’m going through? Will He still love me even when I struggle to believe Him? The book of 2 Timothy was written by an apostle who no doubt had some of these same questions.
2 Timothy 2:7-13
Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things. Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound. Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.
Apostle Paul wrote this letter from prison. He had been through a lot of things in his life. In fact, this was not his first “jailhouse” experience. This time, however, would be different than any other. In the past, he was always released. Sometimes he was beaten first, but he would eventually be free again. In one prison experience, God even sent an earthquake to liberate this great apostle!
However, this time would be different. There would be no earthquake to set him free. There would be no angel to deliver him as had happened to Peter. This time, he would remain under “house arrest” until he was eventually beheaded.
Paul knew what was awaiting him, yet he did not feel sorry for himself. Nor did he want others feeling sorry for him. Paul had a proper perspective about his imprisonment: “If we suffer with Him, we shall also reign with him.” Earlier in his life he had written, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). Paul knew no matter what he had to go through in THIS life, the reward in the NEXT life would MORE than make up for it!
Thus, his promise that “if we suffer, we shall also reign with Him” should provide us with a perspective towards our problems that will help us get through ANY situation. No matter how bad things get down here, “it will be worth it all” when we see Jesus!
All of this we already know and understand. What really stands out in this passage, however, was what Paul said AFTER his statement about suffering and reigning. He begins by saying, “If we deny Him, He also will deny us.” Of course, Jesus Himself had established this principle when He told His disciples much the same thing.
Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.
There is no question that we have a duty — an obligation — to “confess” Him before others. The Lord assured us He would respond to us in like manner as we have done to Him. Paul reiterated this in his second letter to Timothy.
The beautiful thing about what Paul said, however, is that immediately after saying God is going to deny us if we deny Him, he goes on to make another statement which shows a drastic contrast in the Lord’s attitude about how He will respond under a different circumstance. Look at verses 12 and 13 again.
2 Timothy 2:12-13
If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.
To help clarify this point, let’s look at verse 13 from the English Standard Version. It says, “if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself” (2 Timothy 2:13 ESV). Did you catch that? While it’s true that, “if we deny Him, He will also deny us,” it is ALSO true that, “if we are faithless, He remains faithful!”
It seems apparent that God understands the frailty of human emotions. He recognizes the fact that sometimes — regardless of how good He’s been to us — we still find ourselves questioning and doubting.
Remember the story of Peter walking on the water? Let’s look at it again.
But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
We, like Peter, are often quick to take our eyes off of Jesus and instead focus on the storms we are going through. Even when that happens, however, Paul assured us that it is NOT going to affect whether or not God will continue to rescue us.
We often talk about Peter doubting and losing his focus. What we sometimes overlook, however, is what happened IN SPITE of that.
And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.
Remember, in spite of the fact that Peter became fearful and started to sink, the Bible says that Jesus and Peter BOTH went back to the boat. It didn’t matter that Peter had a moment of doubt, the Lord was STILL faithful. The Lord STILL brought him through!
Don’t beat yourself up when you have those moments of doubt. Don’t think God is going to write you off because you have times of anxiety or are overcome by worry. Just remember this: even if we are faithless, He remains faithful!
One way to build up your faith is to be in church and hear the Word of God preached. We would love for you to be our guest at The Truth Church. We hope to see you soon!