June 18, 2015

2 Timothy 1:13 What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus.

It takes great assurance to make a statement like this, but Paul had every reason for such assurance. First of all there must be humble honesty before God. By this point in his life Paul was completely done with any and all pretense. He was probably aware that the letters he had written previously were already being treated as Scripture (2 Peter 3:15-16), and that had to be sobering. Knowing that God had previously spoken/written Truth through him, he still tells Timothy to apply what he has said “with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.” In other words, truth by itself can actually be destructive, so it must be applied in the context of the love of God. Paul had previously written that very famously in 1 Corinthians 13, and Timothy was probably aware of that. And life itself is essentially meaningless without faith. Faith was undoubtedly the bedrock of Paul’s life by this point, as passages like Galatians 2:20 attest. In fact, his previous sentence is one of the most poignant statements of faith in the whole Bible. (2 Timothy 1:12) Paul knew that such faith and love would be the right framework to make the right use of all the Truth the Lord had enabled him to communicate.

I am certainly not in the place of Paul, writing letters that become Scripture, but I need to operate in the same humility, honesty, and assurance. I know that as Jesus said, apart from Him I can do nothing, (John 15:5) and I also know that in Him I can do everything He tells me to do. (Philippians 4:13) I am to teach and preach with all boldness, but always in the faith and love that are in Christ. Like Paul with Timothy, I am concerned with/for those who will follow me. Unlike him, I have the New Testament as well as the Old as a guide, not only for my own ministry but as something I can pass on to those who follow. I am to watch my own life to be sure that I am a good example and not a bad one. I cannot control how other people live right now, much less what they will do after I am gone. I am to trust the Holy Spirit, not just in my own life but also in the lives of those to whom I minister, and I am to keep myself available to Him for Him to use in influencing others.

Father, as I am in turn delighted, encouraged, frustrated and grieved by what I see in those to whom I minister, help me remember Your faithfulness and patience toward me. Help me be true to You and trust You to enable them to do likewise. You have given me a magnificent spiritual heritage; help me do no less for those who follow me, for their blessing and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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