Friday, April 9, 2010

Guard the Good Deposit

“Guard the good deposit” (2 Timothy 1:14)

Paul, in his last letter, pleads with his beloved child in the faith, Timothy, to “guard the good deposit.” Paul knows death will soon be upon him so he writes to Timothy to stand firm in the truth of the gospel. Paul has seen many who have strayed away from the truth and Paul’s concern is for Timothy to be on guard and protect himself from the attack of the evil one, Satan. Paul knows the power of Satan so he tells Timothy to put his hope and confidence in the truth of Jesus Christ.

Like Timothy all followers of Jesus Christ need to place their trust in Christ. The gospel is the truth about Jesus Christ and him crucified and resurrected. This is the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16). Paul tells Timothy, “Do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord…but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God.” Paul is pleading for Timothy not to desert the truth but rather stand firm even through suffering. Timothy will be able to face suffering only through the power which God supplies. We must pray and ask God for the strength to stand up against the wiles of the evil one so we may persevere in Christ’s power alone. Left to our own power we will be destroyed by the power of Satan. But Paul encourages Timothy by reminding him that the gospel is the power needed to sustain him through trials. Christ is the One “who saved us and called us to a holy calling.” Christ began the work in Timothy’s life, Paul’s life and if we are God’s child than our own lives, therefore he will be faithful to complete that work until Christ returns (Phil. 1:6). The gospel faithfully reminds us of this truth.

The question may arise: “Is Paul teaching that someone can lose their salvation so they must guard against the loss?” No! Paul is challenging Timothy to preach the gospel. He wants Timothy to remain faithful to God’s word. The concern that some have fallen away from the truth is just a reminder that these men were never saved to begin with. This is why Paul reminds Timothy that God is the One who has saved him. Paul goes on to refresh Timothy telling him salvation was not granted “because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began” (1:9). The true believer will rejoice in hearing such sweet words. God had a plan and part of the plan was to redeem a people for him and we ought to stand in awe that we would be chosen as one of his children. This is what should motivate us to preach the word and also to know God’s word so we may be faithful ourselves to “guard the good deposit.”

My hope is that all of us could say with Paul “I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me” (1:11). Please do not put your confidence in yourself to “guard the good deposit” but rather trust in Christ knowing he is faithful to complete his work. Yes we have a responsibility to know God’s word but illumination will only come by the work of the Holy Spirit. Paul tells Timothy and us, “Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you” (1:13-14). The work will only be done by putting all your trust in Christ and by his Spirit he will strengthen and guide you as you walk in this life striving to “guard the good deposit.”

Grace upon grace,

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