II Timothy 1:3 I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day;
4 Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy;
5 When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.
Timothy was a faithful servant of God. That is obvious here. Flattery does no one any good. The apostle Paul was directed by God to write these words. It was not just Paul that was encouraging Timothy, but God was encouraging Timothy.
In verse 3, Paul was thanking God for guiding him to young Timothy. Paul was referring to the true God. This was the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and so on. The one and same God. Faithful saints through the ages serve the same true God. The true God is eternal. All other religions have false gods who are not eternal. The apostle Paul could say that He served this true God with a pure conscience.
God is not hiding anything here. Paul was earlier called Saul and he was a persecutor of the saints and he was consenting to the death of Stephen, a faithful servant of the Lord. What we see here again, is that when a person is truly saved, God forgives their sin. The true saint does not bring the baggage of unforgiven sin into his new relationship with God. He or she begins the new life in Christ with a clean heart. This does not erase the consequences of the former life. A murderer can be saved. That salvation will not release him from prison just because he is saved. He has been forgiven by God, but the consequences of his actions still apply.
We have the example of the thief on the cross who turned to Jesus in his last hours and asked Jesus to remember him when He entered into His kingdom. Jesus turned to that repentant sinner and promised him that he would enter into that kingdom that very day. That former thief still died on that cross. However, he was fully forgiven by the Lord Jesus Christ. He had a pure conscience.
Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
It is a beautiful fact to be forgiven and saved. The nay sayers and scoffers will look at this and suggest that a person could go and commit all kinds of sins and then just prior to death, be forgiven and saved. The fact is that this is true. However, this does not suggest for a moment that God’s salvation is a copout and an unjust escape route. We can think back to Judas Iscariot who was a thief and then betrayed Jesus Christ. He could have been forgiven, but his heart was not broken and he did not turn to God for forgiveness and salvation. He went back to the corrupt religious system of his day and sought forgiveness from them. They did not know what forgiveness was and they had no concern for him and his guilt. They left him in his sin and he was too proud and too hardened to turn to Jesus Christ as that repentant thief was. He died in his sins.
We must understand that God’s justice is not man’s justice. Lost man does not understand God’s justice. Cain did not understand God’s justice. The same is true for all lost people. However, those who are saved, appreciate God’s justice. They would never have a hope under man’s corrupt form of justice. There are many examples of the injustice of man’s justice. Our courts are guilty of playing favourites all the time. I am thankful that God is not like that. No one would ever be saved if it were not for God’s justice. He sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ to suffer and die on the cross of Calvary so that wicked people like each one that is reading this devotional, could be saved. We noted Paul’s words to Timothy in verse 2 yesterday. One of the words that Paul was directed to use there was the word mercy. God’s mercy is what allows anyone to be saved. God does not give us what we deserve. He provides the only way for us to avoid what we deserve. We can be forgiven and saved, even though we do not deserve that. After salvation we still needs God’s mercy. We can do all things through Christ Who strengthens us, but we do not always walk in His strength. We need His mercy to deal with our sin and restore us to right fellowship.
Back in our text, Paul could write, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that he had a pure conscience. He had a pure conscience because of God’s mercy toward him. He was reminding Timothy of that fact.
Because Paul had a pure conscience, he could pray to God in an intercessory manner for Timothy. Paul was not Timothy’s priest. He was his elder, and he was also a fellow brother. What an encouragement it was for Timothy to know that the apostle Paul was praying for him night and day. It is also an encouragement for any born again Christian today to know that the Lord Jesus Christ is praying for us.
John 17:20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
Notice here that Jesus Christ is praying for them “which shall believe on me through their word.” Again, we see here that every individual has a choice to make. Will I believe on Jesus Christ through the Word of God? If I will, I become a part of the family of God and Jesus Christ is praying for me. The same is true for each person. If you have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ through the Word of God, then you too are saved and Jesus Christ is praying for you. What a great truth to know. What an encouragement. Jesus’ prayer for His saints is part of the work that He is doing to purify His body as we saw in Ephesians 4 and 5 and elsewhere. Paul’s prayer was intercessory prayer to God in Jesus’ name for Timothy. All legitimate prayer is to the Father in Jesus’ name. Other “prayers” are just words that go nowhere. It is also good to know there are living saints that are praying for one another today.
In verse 4 we see that Paul desired to see Timothy again. At the time of this writing Paul was in prison in Rome. In II Timothy 4 we see that Paul knew that he would soon be put to death. He did not know the day, but he knew that the situation he was facing and the political environment of the time was leading to his soon death.
Those who are truly saved today can also get a sense that things in the world are not moving to a better time on this earth. The stage is set for greater trouble. The world has adopted false gods that they are not willing to relinquish. They are blinded by their stubborn, wicked hearts and their major god is “mother nature”. Following on the heels of that false god is the “pandemic” with its virus and dangerous shots. There are many other false gods that are the focus of world leaders, including our Prime Minister and the opposition parties. The same holds true for our premier and every other premier of this land.
We do not know the day of the Lord’s return, but those who are saved can see that things are headed toward a major change that is coming. That change will be the rapture of the saints and the installation of the Tribulation time. As we witness the major flooding taking place in B.C. at this present time, and we see that our leaders have already agreed that these things are the result of man-made climate change, we can see that they will be doubling down on trying to appease the “climate gods”. Reason has gone out the window. Irrational thought and actions are the norm now. God can slow things down as He has in the past. As we study His Word we can see things are moving toward the end of this age.
As has always been the case, it is time for people to wake up. It is time for lost people to be saved now and it is time for saved people to get right with God. We need to walk with Him faithfully. We need to take His Word as our authority, not some “charismatic” type preacher. There is a preacher in Ontario that is getting much attention. He has claimed several times that he believes there is a great revival coming. He takes Scripture out of context and ignores who is being addressed in order to make those claims. According to his words, he has a large following from around the world. It is sad that there are so many gullible people.
The Bible tells us over and over again, that our hope is not in this world. It is in God. Those who want to follow false teachers like that man will be surprised one day when they face the true God. Hopefully many will turn to Him now before they must meet the Lord Jesus Christ. It is far better to meet the Lord at the judgment seat of Christ than to meet Him at the Great White Throne judgment. Each one must choose whom they will believe and follow. Those who turn to God in repentance and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, have eternal life. They are the only ones who have the hope of heaven. Does that include you?