II Timothy 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.
13 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
The Bible is an interesting book. It is the only book that is inspired of God. It is unique in many ways. One way is that God chose forty different writers to write His Words over a period of about fifteen hundred years. Those writers were directed by God at times to write about their personal experiences. In the midst of that, they were still directed by God as to what to write. They did not write on a whim. They were directed by God to write in such a way that they expressed what was going on in their lives, yet in a manner that was controlled and able to be a blessing to others.
In the previous verses of II Timothy 1, Paul was directed to write about his own testimony. He was not complaining. He was also not bragging. He was writing down what he was facing, but from a godly perspective. That is why II Peter 1:21 tells us that holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
The writers of the Bible show us what walking in the Spirit looks like. God directed Paul to write in Romans 12:2 that we need to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. God does that for His children. He does that as we yield to His direction. That is what God was directing Paul to challenge Timothy with in this chapter. Timothy needed to guard against walking in the flesh. He needed to yield to the Holy Spirit and grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. That is a worthy challenge that every child of God is given.
God was directing the apostle Paul to continue his personal testimony in verse 12 to encourage Timothy in his walk with the Lord. Paul was not being forced to say things against his will. He was in the will of God and thus he was in agreement with what he was speaking and writing. He was not as the hypocrites who say one thing and do another. Sometimes one of the writers of Scripture did not understand what they were writing. John the apostle was in that place in some of the writing of the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ. We know that Daniel sometimes did not understand what he was directed to write. They were still not forced to write things. They were directed in writing things that they did not understand, but they knew they would be understood in their proper time. They had an absolute trust in God. That is important. We, who are saved need that absolute trust in God as well.
Paul wrote of the reason why he was willing to suffer the things he suffered. Why was it that he could write with such confidence, while sitting in a prison in Rome, not sure if he would ever be a free man again? Paul knew he was more free than the soldiers that were guarding him. He was also more free than the government officials that were governing the land. He knew that his sins were forgiven and he knew he was walking faithfully with God. He was not a hypocrite. He was genuine. He knew he was called to be an apostle to the Gentiles. He knew the Gentiles needed the Gospel as much as the Jews did. He knew that Jesus Christ came to save sinners. Jesus did not separate some nationalities as unworthy of salvation. Paul was content to serve God even while in prison because he knew that his efforts were not in vain.
Paul stated that he was not ashamed of where he was at that particular time. He was not saying that in a delusional state. He could honestly say that. He understood that the preaching of the Gospel would lead to persecution.
Paul declared that he knew who he had believed in. He had a true and living relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. He knew the true God and He was fully convinced that God would keep those things which he, Paul, had committed unto Him. Paul had turned to God on the road to Damascus and he had come to understand that he had been fighting against the Lord Jesus Christ. He sat for three days in a house in Damascus, blind. In Acts 9 we read that for those three days he did not eat nor drink. He spent his time praying to the God he had wrongly assumed he was serving but he discovered he had been fighting against Him. At the end of those three days God called on Ananias to go and meet Saul (Paul) in that house and to pray for him that he might receive his sight. Ananias had trouble believing that Saul was a changed man, but he obediently did as God told him to do. He was also a man who had a true and living faith in the true God. He was willing to trust God with things that seemed strange and even dangerous to him. He was not disappointed. No one that trusts in the true God will ever be disappointed in His leadership.
Paul had not only trusted his soul to God in salvation, but he also trusted his entire life, from that moment of salvation, to God. He was willing to throw away the years of training in false doctrine and to take up the truth as God revealed it to him. He did not try to mix the truth with the errors of his past. He trusted God and he experienced trials and abuses as a result of that, but he did not blame God for that. None of that was God’s fault. God had sent him to preach the truth to lost people, giving them the same opportunity he was granted by God. Some listened and were saved. Others were hardened and tried to kill the messenger. Eventually Paul would be killed, but that did not stop the Gospel from being preached.
Paul trusted God to keep him safe until that day. “That day” would be a reference to the end of his life on this earth. Every person has an appointment with death. We do not know the day, but we know it is coming. Paul lived with the expectation of the Lord’s return. He knew that he was safe in God’s hand. Nothing could ever happen in his life that would take him out of that hand. Thus he would continue to follow God faithfully and let God be glorified in his life, regardless of the situation he was in.
Based on these facts, God directed Paul to turn his attention back to Timothy. Timothy needed to hold fast the form of sound words, which he had heard of Paul, in faith and love which is in Jesus Christ. It is not possible for lost people to hold fast to sound words. Those who claim to live by the Ten Commandments must keep them perfectly. No one can do that. Holding fast to sound words is not a matter of holding on to salvation. God holds the true child of God in His hand. What we need to do is stand upon God’s sure Word after we are saved. We have talked about the perversions in the past. Every one of the perversions has changed some parts of God’s Word. They have removed words and they have changed words. That is why they are called “perversions.” If you like to use something other than the King James Bible, take a look at Proverbs 25:23:
Proverbs 25:23 The north wind driveth away rain: so doth an angry countenance a backbiting tongue.
I know that the New King James turns that verse right around. It says the exact opposite. Which one is right? They cannot both be right. It is not that difficult to know which one is right. Look at the people that translated the text and from which source they translated it. By the way, this is just one example of many that show the tampering that has taken place with God’s Word.
Timothy was commanded to hold fast to the form of sound words. Not just any words. Sound words include the doctrines of the Bible. There are so many different doctrines that people hold to. Again, they cannot all be right. We have touched on eschatology in the past. That is the study of things to come. There are many different ideas on when or if the Lord will return. The Bible is very clear on this as it is on all things. Those who will take the time to study God’s Word to meet His approval will come to the right conclusion on all doctrines. God is not the author of confusion.
Timothy had heard sound words from the apostle Paul. He had also been taught that those words were from God. Timothy needed to accept those words by faith and love which were both built upon the Lord Jesus Christ. The love of God motivates the true child of God to accept the Word of God.
Philippians 1:3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,
4 Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,
5 For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;
6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
7 Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.
God is the One Who saves. He is also the One Who guides the saved person into greater understanding of the truth after salvation. Paul had confidence that God would do that for every true believer. God has not changed. We noted in Ephesians 4 that true saints need to strive for the unity of the Spirit. It is not a blank slate of unity in a vacuum. It is unity of the Spirit. God would not require this of His children if it were not possible.
We know from God’s Word that Timothy took the words of the Lord to heart and he did hold fast to the form of sound words.
Today is the Lord’s Day. It is the day that the Lord set aside for His children to be in God’s house. There are those who profess to be saved who seem to be ashamed of gathering together in God’s house these days. The blessing is for those who will obey the Lord, not man.