The Gospel According to Apostle Paul
As way of context, 2 Timothy is Paul’s last epistle. He is in prison in Rome and awaiting his execution. He writes sort of a farewell letter to his successor Timothy who he one to the Lord and trained in the faith. It is a very sad yet encouraging letter. In verses 3-7 Paul is exhorting Timothy (who was young and fearful) to be bold and faithful. He ends the section with, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
Then the passage begins where I would like to base our discussion from (verses 1:8-12). Paul begins to throw it all on the table. This is really where he was wanting to arrive as he wrote. It reads:
”Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. For this reason 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 what I have committed to Him until that Day.”
Tracking Paul’s thought, it goes like this: “I know you are fearful and young. But you are a genuine believer. I know this. You have proven yourself to be true. So you have no reason to fear because God has given you the gift you have and the ability to utilize as He desires. You have God working this and commissioning you for the work, so you have no reason to fear. So don’t be ashamed of the gospel which is what your gift is for!”
Thus we begin Paul’s reasoning why he should not be ashamed of the gospel. He calls the gospel the “testimony of our Lord” which really emphasizes the authority of it. And then he gets really deep … Why should I not be ashamed of the gospel? Because it is the pinnacle of your salvation! It is the hinge by which the door of eternal life swings. In the gospel you find truths that pass all time. So Paul gives reasons for salvation (let me see if I can remember them all as I noted them at home):
(1) It is the Power of God; “according to the power of God“ (1:8).
(2) It Positions us for eternity; “saved us” (1:9).
(3) It Propels us to Him; “called us with a holy calling” (1:9).
(3) It is not by our Proficiency; “not according to our works” (1:9).
(4) It is Purposed by God; “according to His own purpose” (1:9).
(5) It is Profused by God; “according to His own … grace which was given to us” (1:9).
(6) It is Prepared by God; “in Christ Jesus” (1:9).
(7) It is Predestined by God; “before time began” (1:9).
(8) It is Preached by God; “has now been revealed” (1:10).
(9) It is Presented by God; “by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ” (1:10).
(10) It has Prevailed over death; “who has abolished death” (1:10).
(11) It Provided life; “brought life and immortality to light” (1:10).
What else can we say, but that we were purchased by God? I should have ended at 10 to make it easy to remember. Here is what I wish to put into words through conversing with you. The gospel (or the Bible, God’s revelation) is our present Jesus until “that Day” (1:12). I then picture how important the gospel is. I sort picture a man who struggles with sin, with the world, with himself. He kneels quietly hovering over the bible as he reads and prays before it. His life is burdened with the struggles that Paul speaks about here. He does so until the day he meets Christ in person. It is as if He knows of Christ; His character, His works, His love, but now he raises his head and sets his eyes on the person of Christ for the first time. Wow. I longed to finally gaze upon the Lord. I have only seen Him in print. Now I see Him face to face. What a great thing to consider.
Now as I look back on the gospel. I see it as Christ. I don’t think that I can separate the two. God’s word made flesh. The Bible is as close to Jesus as we have. I relate it to a promise. It is like, “Here take this until I see you again.” I recall a story about my parents that is along these lines. Before they were married, they were together in high school. My father was called to go to war at that time and my mother stayed home, of course. They decided to make a promise to return to each other. They ripped a dollar bill in half, each taking one side. When my father was to return, they would unite the dollar bill.
Such is the promise of eternity. Jesus leaves us Himself in written form and promises to complete our relationship by returning face to face.