2 Timothy 2:11-14 King James Version (KJV)
11 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:
12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:
13 If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.
14 Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.
I love faithful sayings, sayings that are true no matter what the circumstance, what the trial, what the test. Faithful sayings stand the test of time and can be remembered in our deepest need. Faithful sayings supersede all that this world can offer me for advice and counsel. I know it is a faithful saying if it is backed up by the word of God. There are so many faithful sayings in His glorious word. Paul shares with us just a few of those here.
“If we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him.” Being dead with Him means burying our sins in the past and pressing in close to Him in the present moment. In Galatians 2:20 Paul says he is crucified with Christ, yet He lives. It’s not Paul that lives, but Christ that lives in Him. He only lives that life by the grace of God. We all only live our lives by the grace of God. He has no mandate to keep us alive. When we turn our lives over to Him, He resides within us to bring us into the perfection of Jesus Christ. I must die to myself, my desires, my lusts, my hopes. I must live in Him, learning His desires and His plans for my life. Paul says he died daily. Daily I must come to myself and put away all those silly things that corrupt my life, turning everything over to Him and dying to self. I should never be offended because it is only my flesh and my pride that can get offended. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life must go. Humility, meekness, patience, compassion and faithful endurance must abide. This is how we should be living.
“If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him.” Suffering is a foreign concept to most of us. Oh, we may think we suffer. But in these United States, we barely know suffering. Sure we suffer through things like cancer, heart attack, divorce, financial hardship and other such things. But we rarely suffer for the Gospel here. Missionaries overseas suffer for the Gospel. Those who convert from Islam or Buddhism or Hinduism can suffer for the Gospel. They often take to themselves terrible persecution and even death because they will not deny their faith. The suffer for Christ’s sake just as the disciples in the early church did. When we are willing to give all we have, including our own lives, to follow Him, we shall also reign with Him in His kingdom.
“If we deny Him, He will also deny us” Jesus said this as well. There is no more faithful saying than the ones that Jesus said. He told us if we deny Him before men, he will deny us before the Father, Considering He is our intercessor and mediator, that would be a bad thing for sure. We need Him to acknowledge us before the Father. After all, it is He that will sit on the throne of judgement in heaven, and it is His book that has the names written down. We must make sure we never deny Him to others. If someone asks you if you’re a Christian, proudly say yes! The book of revelation says that we overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. That testimony is that we live for Jesus, that we have been born again and that we have done the will of the Father. In a manner of speaking, we deny Him when we don’t show mercy, grace and compassion. We must do all we can to show others we are Christians.
“If we believe not, yet he abideth still” I used to have a pastor that said “God said it. I believe it, and that settles it”. The truthful saying is “God said it and that settles it” It does not matter if I believe it or not. When God says it, it’s done. We can argue all we want. We can come up with our own theology, our own doctrine, our own religious interpretations and our own Magisterium. All of that does not matter. What God said matters, and it is all written in His book. He left us His will in a neat package and we are to live according to that will. It’s the greatest love letter ever written, filled with countless promises and blessings to those who will follow it, and countless curses to those that will not. He cannot deny Himself, and he regards His word above His name. That is pretty high regard and we had better take note of that!
One of the big problems in the Church today is that we strive about things that really don’t matter a hill of beans to God. He hates religion. Religion is the letter of the law. Jesus came and condemned the Pharisees as white washed sepulchers full of dead men’s bones because they were so good at keeping the letter of the law they forgot about keeping the heart of the law. The heart of the law is mercy. The heart of the law is grace. The heart of the law is forgiveness. The heart of the law is compassion. Here is how God describes Himself in Exodus 34:6-7
6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,
7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.
We should stick to these things and not silly arguments about doctrine and theology. Paul even tells us to stay away from foolish and unlearned questions because they turn into strife (v23 of this chapter). I have discussions with others about the merits of my beliefs and they are good because they help me to understand another system of faith. But we must keep the main thing the main thing. It’s not my theology and doctrine or their theology and doctrine that matters. It’s not what the founding fathers of my religion or the saints of theirs say that matters. It is what the Bible says that matters. We must strive to speak words that will profit each other, not tear each other down. I am guilty of that occasionally and I am sorry for that (you know who you are). Isaiah 1:18-20 says
18 “Come now, and let us reason together,”Says the LORD,
“Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.
19 If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land;
20 But if you refuse and rebel, You shall be devoured by the sword”;
For the mouth of the LORD has spoken
The Lord Himself told Isaiah what we should reason about. The cleansing of sin and the willingness to obey. This we must do with the purpose of speaking words that edify and minister grace, words that are profitable to the hearer. We will all be much better off when we get to that place!