2 Timothy 2:8-13
New American Standard Bible
8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, descendant of David, according to my gospel, 9 for which I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the word of God is not imprisoned. 10 For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory. 11 The statement is trustworthy:
For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him; 12 If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He will also deny us; 13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.
Paul received the gospel he preached directly from Jesus Christ. He calls it my gospel because most likely there were many false gospels that were trying to deceive the sons and daughters of God. Jesus is risen from the dead and he is a descendent of David. Because Christ is risen from the dead it shows that He has victory over death and the grave and His resurrection point to Him as God. But because He is a descendent of David, He is fully man. Jesus fully became man to live under the law and eventually give His life for us so that we could truly find forgiveness. The wrath and punishment that Jesus endured appeased the righteousness of the Father. Because of Jesus, the way of salvation has been made available to all men. It is the message of the gospel that saves people. Though the enemy try to silence the gospel, he cannot. He may persecute those who faithful proclaim the message, but through the power and work of the Holy Spirit the gospel will go forth.
Paul was suffering hardship as a prisoner like a common criminal because of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Those who were jews were offended that Paul would proclaim Christ as the Messiah. Those who were Romans would be offended because they were instructed to worship the emperor and Paul pointed all worship to Jesus. The Greeks would be offended because Paul claimed that Jesus was not only fully God but He was fully man. Paul faced pressure on all sides. But Paul reminded Timothy of what Jesus endured for us. Jesus went to the cross and endured horrific suffering. The suffering Paul endured did not compare to what Christ went through. No matter what we face or endure, we can always fix our hearts and minds on Jesus Christ. He is where we will always find true strength and joy.
Paul says the word of God is not imprisoned. Paul currently wrote this from prison and even though the Roman authorities believed by imprisoning Paul they would silence the gospel, they failed to understand that God was not only using young Timothy, but many others to proclaim His truth. They thought by eventually beheading the apostle Paul they would halt the spread of the gospel. But the gospel will never be stopped because of God Almighty. God allows persecution and throughout history wherever persecution has escalated the spread of the gospel has increased. It is because of the work of The Holy Spirit through His servants that the kingdom is advanced, and the purposes of God are accomplished. God is sovereign and all He has planned, and purpose will come to pass in His time.
The word chosen in verse ten is the Greek word eklektos and it means chosen, elect, selected (by someone) in preference to another (or others). All of those who come to Christ in salvation have been chosen by God. This is a theological concept that can be hard to understand for many believers. The only way we can come to salvation is if number one God provides a way and number two if God offers salvation to us. We know that salvation is available to all people. But it is God who chooses, and it is man who responds to that salvation. Again, there is a mystery that exist between the relationship of the sovereignty of God and the freewill of man. But this is why we are saved by the grace and mercy of God. It is not based on our works or what we have done. It is based upon what Christ has done for us and the only way we can come to salvation in Christ is if God enables us to repent.
Paul says that he endures the suffering he is facing for the sake of those who are chosen and elect. Paul understood the call and anointing on his life to preach the gospel was not for his benefit alone. But wherever Paul went being led by The Holy Spirit he would proclaim the truth of Christ. Those who heard the gospel and were being saved would respond to the gospel and give their lives to Jesus Christ. Paul knew that one day he would have great rewards in God’s kingdom and would spend an eternity in the presence of the Lord. The present suffering he was enduring did not compare to God’s eternal glory (Romans 8:18). This should be the mindset of every believer in Christ. When we have a right understanding of eternity, then if we have the honor and privilege to suffer in this life for Jesus, we will endure that suffering through the power and strength of The Holy Spirit.
The eternal glory Paul speaks of is everlasting life. We know we are saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ. Our salvation is not by works lest anyone have anything to boast to God about (Ephesians 2:8-9). Salvation is a gift and those who have the great honor of preaching and proclaiming the gospel may suffer much in this life, but it doesn’t compare to having the opportunity and privilege to bring all glory and honor to Jesus. Paul was motivated and driven by reaching lost people with the gospel. Our mindset should always be focused on not how many people will respond, but whose appointed day of salvation is today. We never know how many lives will be impacted by our willingness to serve Jesus Christ.
In verse eleven trustworthy is the Greek word pistos and it means faithful, reliable, believing, characterized by steadfast affection or allegiance (to someone or something). The trustworthy statement is most likely from a hymn that the early church sang based on the truth of Jesus Christ. Paul says if we died with Him, we will also live with Him. Now some may think Paul is speaking of martyrdom. But I believe Paul here is speaking of truly following Christ. When we look at baptism the going into the water represents dying with Christ and coming out of the water represents raising to new life with Jesus. Jesus came to give life and give it abundantly (John 10:10).
All of us before we come to Christ are dead in our trespasses. But in Christ we find healing, restoration, forgiveness, and righteousness. Jesus has taken the wrath of God upon Himself and in exchange has given us brand new life. He who knew no sin has become sin for us (2 Cor 5:21). If anyone is in Christ, they are a brand new creation (2 Cor 5:17). What we have in Jesus is brand new life. This is what I truly believe Paul is referring to when dying with Christ. When we come to Christ we must die to sin and our old way of life. We must truly come to repentance which means we are going to turn our back on the pursuit of sin and the ways of the world and in its place, we are going to pursue Jesus Christ with everything that is within us. We are going to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, mind, and strength.
This is why Paul had so much joy and confidence in the midst of incredible suffering. In the midst of a dark prison cell alone and abandoned, Paul spent his time reflecting on the goodness of Jesus as he wrote this letter to Timothy. Paul most likely would often reflect on his old life and who he was before coming to know Jesus. For it is Christ who chose him. It was Jesus who arrested him on the road to Damascus. Nothing Paul had done in his life deserved salvation; in fact it deserved the wrath of the Living God. But God in His mercy saved Paul and gave him brand new life.
In verse twelve the word endure is the Greek word hypomeno and it means to face and withstand with courage. Following Jesus is not easy. As we see from the apostle Paul’s life there was incredible suffering that he had to endure for the name of Jesus. Here Paul points to his motivation and willingness to suffer for the name of Jesus. That if we endure with Him, we will also reign with Him. Jesus says those who endure until the end will be saved (Matt 24:13). Are there moments in the midst of suffering that some may feel like abandoning faith in Christ, the answer is yes. But thankfully if we are truly born again and sealed by The Holy Spirit it is by His grace we are saved, and it is by His grace that we are kept. It is God who holds us close, and no one can snatch us from The Father’s hand.
Some have debated and even wondered if one can lose their salvation. But I truly believe the conduct and outcome of a person’s life shows whether or not they were truly saved. One who has become born again and sealed by The Holy Spirit, is empowered and equipped by the Spirit of God to face everything they will in this life. That even includes great suffering for the name of Jesus. The mistake we make often in America is we equate the gospel message with comfort, blessing, and prosperity. But this is a false gospel. Paul readily experienced suffering and when we read and study what he wrote under the inspiration and influence of The Holy Spirit, he prepared those who would follow Christ to expect suffering of some kind. For this world is not our home, but praise God we will one day rule and reign with Christ. That is our great reward. Even if we are called to suffer, our eyes and heart must be focused on ruling and reigning with Jesus.
Our hope is that we will reign and rule with Jesus. He is coming back to establish His kingdom on the earth, and we will rule and reign with Him during the Millennial kingdom. But Paul also states here that if we deny Him, He will deny us. Jesus said during His earthly ministry that if we deny Him before men, He will deny us before His Father in Heaven (Matthew 10:33). Jesus is our founding and on which all things are built in the Christian life. To deny Christ before men is to abandon faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus said that those who endure until the end will be saved. If we are to truly endure, we must abide in the Lord on a daily basis. Within second Timothy Paul has already highlighted those who have abandoned him and those who have remained faithful. His instructions to Timothy using the analogy of a farmer, soldier, and athlete so the importance of discipline and being committed regardless of the cost. In the end the reason we can stand against the enemy and overcome is the grace of God. God by His grace makes all things possible. His strength that is without limit is made perfect in our weakness.
There may be moments when we fail and like the prodigal son, find ourselves running to situations and circumstances that are destructive in our lives. But thankfully the journey we have with Jesus is not based on our faithfulness. God has given us a freewill and we must decide daily to abide in Christ. But ultimately what keeps us and holds us close to God is the faithfulness of God. His grace is sufficient. When we do sin and fall short, we are able to confess our sin and He is faithful and just to forgive us. Paul says if we are faithless, He is faithful. The focus must always be on Jesus and what He has done for us and what He is able to do for us. We must be willing to die daily to self. We must become less that He would become more.
Ultimately God cannot deny himself. God cannot lie and He is faithful to fulfill and complete every purpose and plan He has begun in our lives. It is essential that we have a right understanding of God’s grace and election. He has chosen us and saved us by faith alone. It is a gift from Almighty God. We have done nothing to earn our standing before God or the plans and purposes He has designed for our lives. But as we seek Him daily, the Lord will give us the strength needed to accomplish His plans and purposes. Young Timothy faced challenges daily as a pastor. There were real moments where he probably felt like quitting. But Paul always points Timothy and us back to Jesus. It is through Christ alone that we will overcome.
 Rick Brannan, ed., Lexham Research Lexicon of the Greek New Testament, Lexham Research Lexicons (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2020).  Rick Brannan, ed., Lexham Research Lexicon of the Greek New Testament, Lexham Research Lexicons (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2020).  Rick Brannan, ed., Lexham Research Lexicon of the Greek New Testament, Lexham Research Lexicons (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2020).