The Bible says in Second Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us the Spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” A Christian does not have to have fear or worry or anxiety of any kind. Instead of a Spirit of fear, we have been given a Spirit of power, of love, and of a sound mind. There is always a strong correlation between anything in the Christian life and what goes on in our mind. When we have fear, we have a certain kind of thought process that results in that fear. We will only have fear when we have certain negative thoughts about ourselves and about our circumstances.
If we think about things the way that we ought to think about them, then we will not have fear. For example, if I think about my own weaknesses and limitations, then I will fear that I cannot do something. But if I think about Jesus and His power in us, then I will be confident in Him. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” If I think of the power of the evil one to enter into evil people and cause them to use hatred and violence in their opposition to what is good, then I might just fear what will happen to me. But if I think of the power of God and of how He is master and Lord of all things, then I will not fear. Instead of fearing, I will have security in the promises of God. If anything that appears to be bad happens, I will remember Romans 8:28 that says, “All things work together for good to them that love God and to them that are the called according to His purpose.”
There is a close connection between your mind and what you think about and living the life of faith. If you think what you ought to think in each situation in life, then you will live the life of faith. Paul said that God has given to us the Spirit of a sound mind. In Philippians chapter two the Bible says, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” In Romans chapter 12 Paul said, “Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” The Bible says in Second Corinthians 10:5, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” And of course, it says in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” The degree to which you will be able to think what you ought to think in each situation is the degree to which you will serve God faithfully and live by faith. Your thought process will be all about the Word of God, God’s promises, God’s principles, and the teachings of Jesus Christ.
In Second Timothy 1:8 Paul wrote, “Be 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.” Notice the things that a Christian might be tempted to become ashamed of: the testimony of the Lord or one of the Lord’s servants who is undergoing some great suffering. True Christianity will never be respectable in this world. At least it will not always be respectable. There will always be some who will hate believers and persecute them. There will always be pressure from some circles that will have an affect of watering down the testimony of some and causing others to be ashamed of the testimony of the Lord. Paul knew that he had become isolated and forsaken as he sat in a Roman prison because there were some Christians who were ashamed of him and what his status in Roman society had become. Being ashamed of the testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ is actually a kind of fear. It’s a fear of the opinion of others. The way to overcome such fear is to remember verse 7 that says, “God has not given us the Spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
Another way to get Christians to not be ashamed of the testimony of the Lord is to remind them of exactly what the Lord has done for us. Second Timothy 1:9 says, “Who 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.” If we remember what Jesus has done for us, surely we will desire greatly to be a witness for Him. If we remember what salvation is all about, we will be well aware that there is nothing to be ashamed of. The Lord did for us what we could not do for ourselves. It says here, “Not according to our works.” If the Lord has given to me what I had earned or deserved by my works, then I would have no hope, no chance, and no future after death.
But because of Jesus, I have been saved from the disastrous eternity that would have awaited me, forever separated from God and from heaven. If salvation does not come from my works, then it does not come from anything that I do. Salvation does not come from anything that any person does. If it involves human effort, and if it involves human action, then it is not a part of salvation. Good deeds do not bring salvation. Baptism is not a part of salvation. Holy communion is not a part of salvation and does not bring salvation. If salvation does not come from these things or from any other thing that humans might do either in or outside of religion, then where does it come from? Salvation comes from Jesus. That’s why this verse says, “which was given us in Christ Jesus.”
Notice that when we get saved, it is in response to being “called.” Second Timothy 1:9 says, “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling.” Salvation comes from Jesus and only from Jesus, and no one can be saved until they are first called by God. In John Jesus said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” In John Jesus said, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” This idea of being drawn to Jesus is a big part of being called. God calls a person when that person is touched spiritually and awakened to their need of Christ. That’s why no one can be saved just because you or I give them the gospel. They need to be given the gospel, but they also must be drawn by Christ. If it’s not God’s time to draw them, they will not be saved. Even though it may not be God’s time to save them, it is always a good time to plant the seed of God’s Word. “Be instant in season, out of season.” His seed will bring forth its fruit in its season. Everyone is drawn to Christ at some time in their life. Jesus said, “I will draw all men to myself.” But that does not mean that everyone will be saved. Everyone still has a choice. Some will say “yes” to God, but unfortunately some will say “no.” That’s why Jesus also said in Matthew , “For many are called, but few are chosen.”
The Bible tells us in Second Timothy 1:9 that this salvation that we have came to us “according to his own purpose and grace.” Just like everything else in the universe, God designed salvation. God knew exactly what human beings would need: grace. It is interesting to note the amount of time that God had this grace in the making and in the planning stages. This verse says that God planned this salvation before the world began. Actually, the phrase that is translated “before the world began” literally means “before eternal times.” So it wasn’t just before the world began that God planned this great salvation through Jesus Christ. It was actually planned ages and ages and ages before the world began. The great salvation was planned before time even began.
It is a wonderful thing to think about long the great eternal God and His Son have planned and purposed and determined to provide for us lowly humans this wonderful salvation by grace. Perhaps there is also a practical lesson to be learned in knowing that God had this plan and this purpose in effect for age upon age upon age before it was actually put into effect. It shows a little bit how God does things. Usually He is not in near as big a hurry as man is. The wheels of God move slowly yet ever so finely. God had Noah work on the ark for a hundred years. God had Moses wait in the wilderness for forty years. Jesus still has not come back and for two thousand years God has had us waiting for His return. God is not in near as big a hurry as man is. Learn to wait upon the Lord and His time, if you want to do His will. If you do not learn to wait, you just might end up doing the will of man instead of the will of God.
One thing that is the will of God is that this great salvation by grace through Jesus Christ be testified to in the world. Second Timothy says, “But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” There are a lot of positive things mentioned in this verse. These wonderful things have been made manifest “now.” We don’t have to wait for them the way that the people of the Old Testament had to wait. What makes the difference between us and those of the Old Testament is “the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ.”
This is clearly the first coming of Christ that is being talked about here. It’s interesting that this “appearing” is the same word that is also used to talk about the Second Coming. The miraculous appearing of Christ has two phases. Both are wonderful. Each one of these epiphanies (or appearances) fulfill some of the promises of the Old Testament about the Messiah. Some of the things accomplished by the first appearing of Jesus are given here in Second Timothy 1:10. Because of the first appearing of Jesus we have “life,” “immortality,” “light,” and “the gospel,” which is good news. When the Bible says that through Jesus we have life, we often think of spiritual life. Of course, this is true, but we are also talking about something that is directly related to physical life. Physical life is finite. Physical life has an end. That end is death. Jesus gives immortality. Jesus gives life that has no end and has no death. Not only that, but because of what Jesus did in His first appearing, even physical death has been acted upon. According to Second Timothy death has been “abolished” by Jesus. To abolish means to put an end to, to nullify. The famous English poet, John Donne, wrote the poem, “On Death,” and in it he said, “Death, thou shalt die.” According to Second Timothy 1:10 because of Jesus, death has already died. Jesus Himself said in John 11:25-26, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” If you are one of Jesus’ own, death is not the end. It’s just the beginning of a new existence much more wonderful than this one could ever be. In Revelation 21:4 we are given this welcome description of the next life, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
As Paul sat in a Roman prison just before his own execution, it must have brought him great comfort to write these words in Second Timothy 1:10, “But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” Jesus has made all of these things possible at His first appearing. The means by which these things come into the possession of individual human beings is the gospel. Each of us who believe in Jesus have a part to play and a job to do in the spreading of the gospel. Hopefully you know what your part is or you are looking for it.
Paul knew what his part was. He said in Second Timothy 1:11, “Whereunto I am
appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.” According to
this verse, Paul was given three responsibilities: to be a preacher, and
apostle, and a teacher. Two of these three tasks are still assigned by God to
people today, that of a preacher and a teacher. Of course, there are no longer
apostles. There were the twelve apostles, and there was Paul who called Himself
an Apostle born out of due season because he had not been one of the twelve. One
common requirement to being an Apostle was that they had to have seen and been
taught by Jesus personally. The eleven were with Jesus during the time of
Jesus’ earthly reign. Paul met Jesus on the road to
Apostles were needed in the first century, but they are no longer needed. What is needed is the other two things that Paul was appointed to do: being a preacher and a teacher. God appointed Paul to be a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher. Today God appoints some believers to be preachers and teachers. The word that is translated “preacher” means literally to publicly proclaim. No one lights a candle and then puts it under a basket. God has given us the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, and He wants us to proclaim it publicly. In order to be effective at doing that, we must grow in faith, in knowledge, and in experience. One of the things that the Lord has provided for us so that we will grow is teachers: teachers who will open up the Word of God and feed and instruct us in the principles of the oracles of God. Ephesians 4:11-12 says, “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.”
Copyright; 2002 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved