A Trustworthy Statement

In Paul’s two letters to the younger preacher Timothy uses the term “trustworthy” four times to preface a particularly important statement. In particular, the fact that Christ came to this world to save sinners (1 Tim. 1.15), the nobility of one who desires the office of elder (1 Tim. 3.1), and that Godliness is profitable for this life and the life to come (1 Tim. 4.8-9). The last of these four statements, found in 2 Timothy 2.11-13, is one of the best summaries of our current spiritual situation. In those three verses, we find a series of logical “if-then” statements. These statements show us the guaranteed results of our spiritual decisions, sealed by the very words of God Himself.

If we have died with Him, we will also live with Him.”

Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. “(Rom. 6.8) The one who believes the message of the gospel must put to death the old man through repentance, confess that Christ is the son of God, and be baptized into His death. “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?” (Rom. 6.3) Our sins are forgiven when we come into contact with the saving blood of Jesus, which was shed willingly for us. (1 John 1.7) We have been called to deny self, take up our crosses (the implements of our death to this sinful world), and follow Him, forsaking all else. “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” (Mark 8.35)

If we endure, we will also reign with Him.”

The Christian Race is not won when the believer has been baptized, it has only just begun. We are born again to cease the practice of sinning! “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.” (1 John 3.9) This race requires us to run with endurance! “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us” (Heb. 12.1). To the one who is faithful to Him, there awaits a crown of life! “…be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” (Rev. 2.10) This crown of life is promised to those who love Him. (James 1.2)

“IF we deny Him, He will also deny us.”

We know that the way to destruction and death is broad, and “those who enter by it are many.” (Matt. 7.13) The one who denies Jesus as the Christ, and rejects His call of obedience will be rejected by Christ on the day of Judgment. “Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.' (Matt. 7.21-23) Jesus makes this point in the clearest way in Matthew 10.33: “But whoever denies me before men, I will also deny before my Father who is in heaven.”

If we are faithless, He remains faithful.”

Too many of our friends and loved ones have left their first love, and departed in every direction from the truth. Each time this happens we inevitably ask ourselves if they “know something we don’t.” This statement is both an assurance to the faithful as well as an indictment against the faithless. To those who are faithful, it is a reassurance that no matter who abandons the faith around you, God and His promises remain faithful evermore. “At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me… But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.” (2 Tim. 4.16-17) To the faithless, the certainty of condemnation for leaving their “first love” is as certain as the reward for the faithful. “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.” (Rev.  2.5)

For He cannot deny Himself.”

God has spoken all of these things. To deny the truth of His words is to be willfully ignorant of Him, and woefully defiant in the face of certain, eternal condemnation. If He has spoken it, it must be:

God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? (Num. 23.19)

so shall My word be that goes out from My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. (Isa. 55.11)