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1. Encouragement to Be Faithful

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus, 2To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. 3I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day; 4Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy; 5When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also. 6Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. 7For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. 8Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; 9Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, 10But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: 11Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. 12For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. 13Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. 14That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us. 15This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes. 16The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain: 17But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me. 18The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well.

12 For which cause also I suffer these things It is well known that the rage of the Jews was kindled against Paul, for this reason more than any other, that he made the gospel common to the Gentiles. Yet the phrase for which cause relates to the whole verse, and therefore must not be limited to the last clause about “the Gentiles.”

But I am not ashamed That the prison in which he was bound might not in any degree lessen his authority, he contends, on the contrary, by two arguments. First, he shows that the cause, far from being disgraceful, was even honorable to him; for he was a prisoner, not on account of any evil deed, but because he obeyed God who called him. It is an inconceivable consolation, when we are able to bring a good conscience in opposition to the unjust judgments of men. Secondly, from the hope of a prosperous issue he argues that there is nothing disgraceful in his imprisonment. He who shall avail himself of this defense will be able to overcome any temptations, however great they may be. And when he says, that he “is not ashamed,” he stimulates others, by his example, to have the same courage.

For I know whom I have believed This is the only place of refuge, to which all believers ought to resort, whenever the world reckons them to be condemned and ruined men; namely, to reckon it enough that God approves of them; for what would be the result, if they depended on men? And hence we ought to infer how widely faith differs from opinion; because, when Paul says, “I know whom I have believed,” he means that it is not enough if you believe, unless you have the testimony of God, and unless you have full certainty of it. Faith, therefore, neither leans on the authority of men, nor rests on God, in such a manner as to hesitate, but must be joined with knowledge; otherwise it would not be sufficiently strong against the innumerable assaults of Satan. He who with Paul enjoys this knowledge, will know, by experience, that, on good grounds, our faith is called

“the victory that overcometh the world,” (1 John 5:4)

and that on good grounds, it was said by Christ,

“The gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
(Matthew 16:18.)

Amidst every storm and tempest, that man will enjoy undisturbed repose, who has a settled conviction that God,

“who cannot lie,” (Titus 1:2)

or deceive, hath spoken, and will undoubtedly perform what he hath promised. On the other hand, he who has not this truth sealed on his heart, will be continually shaken hither and thither like a reed.

This passage is highly worthy of attention; because it expresses admirably the power of faith, when it shows that, even in desperate affairs, we ought to give to God such glory as not to doubt that he will be true and faithful; and when it likewise shows that we ought to rely on the word as fully as if God had manifested himself to us from heaven; for he who has not this conviction understands nothing. Let us always remember that Paul does not pursue philosophical speculations in the shade, but, having the reality before his eyes, solemnly declares, how highly valuable is a confident hope of eternal life.

And am persuaded that he is able Because the power and greatness of dangers often fill us with dismay, or at least tempt our hearts to distrust, for this reason we must defend ourselves with this shield, that there is sufficient protection in the power of God. In like manner Christ, when he bids us cherish confident hope, employs this argument,

“The Father, who gave you to me, is greater than all,”
(John 10:29)

by which he means, that we are out of danger, seeing that the Lord, who hath taken us under his protection, is abundantly powerful to put down all opposition. True, Satan does not venture to suggest this thought in a direct form, that God cannot fulfill, or is prevented from fulfilling, what he has promised, (for our senses are shocked by so gross a blasphemy against God,) but, by preoccupying our eyes and understandings, he takes away from us all sense of the power of God. The heart must therefore be well purified, in order that it may not only taste that power, but may retain the taste of it amidst temptations of every kind.

Now, whenever Paul speaks of the power of God, understand by it what may be called his actual or (ἐνεργουμένμν) “effectual” power, as he calls it elsewhere. (Colossians 1:29) Faith always connects the power of God with the word, which it does not imagine to be at a distance, but, having inwardly conceived it, possesses and retains it. Thus it is said of Abraham:

“He did not hesitate or dispute, but gave glory to God, being fully convinced that what he had promised he was able also to perform,” (Romans 4:20,21.)

What I have intrusted to him Observe that he employs this phrase to denote eternal life; for hence we conclude, that our salvation is in the hand of God, in the same manner as there are in the hand of a depository those things which we deliver to him to keep, relying on his fidelity. If our salvation depended on ourselves, 147147     “Si nostre salut dependoit de nous, et qu’il fust en nostre garde.” — “If our salvation depended on us, and were under our protection.” to how many dangers would it be continually exposed? But now it is well that, having been committed to such a guardian, it is out of all danger.


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