Isaiah 35, 2 Tim 1.15-2.13

An affectionate call – 2.1
Paul refers to Timothy as a son, he is not his literal father but in his language we see an affectionate relationship. They have served together and walked together  through much. Paul’s call for his son is to be strong in the grace of Christ. I find this language confusing and counterintuitive. Grace in one sense is an event of a gift of salvation. A one of event. Paul talks about grace as an ongoing source or idea to be strong in. That the gift of God of relationship in him through Jesus is an ongoing source for Timothy in his ministry.
Call developed – 2.2-7
Paul goes on to describe what continuing in grace looks like using a series of metaphors.
  • Grace like a soldier in suffering and obedience – in this idea Paul says Timothy is to be seeking to please his commanding officer. Not to be caught in discussions and situations that are unnecessary but ones that seek to follow Christ. This obedience may lead to suffering and Paul doesn’t warn Timothy about that but invites him to join in the work of suffering like a soldier for Jesus. I am pretty against suffering, my heart longs to avoid it at all costs. My prayer is that I would long for Jesus and desire to obey him more then I would fear suffering.
  • Grace like an athlete to follow the rules – the idea of obedience is further developed here as following. The athlete receives depending on following the rules. If he makes up his own rules he receives what he has worked for. If he follows the rules of the competition he will receive the end goal. My heart often desires to rebel and sometimes I want to do things just because that is different to the status quo. I pray that I would be following the life and wisdom God has laid before me rather then my hearts desire to be different or my hearts abdication to following the world.
  • Grace like a hardworking farmer – I don’t know what to do with this image. My one thought is that in one sense what work we are putting in will bear a harvest. My second thought is a question about what we are sowing. You can work hard at doing the wrong thing and receive the harvest of that or you can work hard for the Lord and receive the results of that.
  • It seems that if we work hard like the farmer, following the rules like the athlete, and being obedient to even suffer like a soldier then we are standing strong in grace.
Pauls gospel – 2.8-10
Paul follows this section with a statement of the gospel. It is a simple 3 lines that say much to us.
  • Remember Jesus Christ – he is the centre of our faith and the gospel.
  • Raised from the dead – the effect of his resurrection is for us, new life and hope beyond death is found in him
  • Descended from David – this last line is probably the one that seems most out of place. Our gospel tends to be about Jesus dying and rising so we can go to heaven. Paul goes one step further to Jesus being a king like David. Representing a new kingdom inaugurated in him where he is the Lord. Pauls gospel isn’t just about our past forgiven and our future set but it is also about our present experience of life in the kingdom.

A gospel that does not have all three statements is lacking and will create confusion and wilting faith. A gospel that focuses on kingdom but lacks Jesus and resurrection will be legalistic and guilt driven, a gospel that focuses on resurrection but lacks Jesus and kingdom will lead to shallow lives in Christ now and a sense of apathy towards Gods church , a gospel that is all Jesus but lacks resurrection and kingdom will be sentimental, lack a true sense of forgiveness, and tend to reflect the culture of the world around us.

Paul’s gospel, our gospel is remember Jesus, raised from the dead, descended from David.
With Pauls final words in this passage we opportunity to pray. He outlines in the form a trustworthy saying the promises of God to those tied with Jesus. Much of this is not new to us, we have heard it before. The question is not of knowledge but of belief. Do our hearts love these words, delight in these words as they point us to Jesus. Our past, present, and future is joined with Him. I suggest finishing by praying these words – praying that God would help us to see them clearly and help our hearts not just know truth but believe.

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.

2 Timothy 2.11-13

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About myles elton

I am a follower of Christ, a husband, a father of two, a pastor, a reader, a theologian, a friend, a movie watcher, a enjoyer of the beauty of creation, and I am in awe of all God has done and will do in this world.