Our confident hope for time and for eternity is inspired by Paul’s confident expression of faith in 2 Timothy.
In this prison epistle Paul recognized that his ministry and his life were drawing to a close. He wrote to Timothy, “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (4:6-8).
From the time of his conversion to saving faith in Christ Jesus, as well as from the time that he was called to be a servant of the Lord, Paul had committed his person, his life, his spiritual well-being, his ministry, and his salvation into the hand of the Lord.
Every false religion — no matter how “spiritual” or pious – which rejects, twists, or otherwise mishandles the Word of God has nurtured the big lie.
How could Paul be so confident and so trusting as to totally commit to the Lord who and what he was as well as the success of his ministry? The answer lies in his own words. Previously in the same letter (1:12) the apostle said, “For I know whom I have believed.” What blessing to live in confidence of faith in Christ Jesus, the eternal Word! Yes, Paul believed the Word of God.
Paul exhibited a faith and confidence that is not natural to man since the fall into sin. There is a reason why there are in our society many wandering about in despair without seeming purpose or direction—so many who have no idea from where they have come or where they are going.
Why is this? Because they have believed the big lie! Every false religion — no matter how “spiritual” or pious – which rejects, twists, or otherwise mishandles the Word of God has nurtured the big lie.
What was the genesis of that lie? The answer is found in Eden. “Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:1-5).
The sin of Eve – and Adam with her – was not first of all their eating of the forbidden fruit. The first sin involved listening to the devil and rejecting the Lord and His Word! They ate the fruit because they believed the lie! And there is a reason why Adam and Eve hid from God. They were frightened! They knew they had sinned.
Listen to the Word!
Things have deteriorated over time. The chief difference between Adam and Eve and our generation is that, while the first parents ultimately recognized that they had sinned, many today refuse even to acknowledge God. Still fewer care what God says, while others who speak in the conceit of their own mind put words in God’s mouth. Anything and everything from whatever source that contradicts any Word of God is a lie! Every perversion of God’s Word is merely a variation of the first lie perpetrated by the devil. The Lord said through Jeremiah, “How long will this be in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies” (Jeremiah 23:26). Those who cause God’s people to err through their lies and who thereby rob hearts of the confidence of Paul are called reckless by the Lord, who says of them, “They do not profit this people at all”
Do you want to grow in the confidence of faith and face affliction and even death with confidence? Then listen to the Word — the Word that is written that you might know that you have eternal life — and reject the lies! “And this is the record that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God”
(1 John 5:11-13).
Even this fundamental truth of the gospel which manifests the love of God—the foundational truth that undergirds all of Scripture — Satan undercuts, and he does so in particular by asking “Has God said?”
There is only one source for the confidence exhibited by the apostle Paul — it is the inspired Word of God! As we hear and believe it, unlike those who do not hear and therefore fall for the lies conceived and promoted by Satan, we will be able to say with Paul, “I know whom I have believed.” As we believe in Him and are confident of Him in whom we believe, in the face of death we can join in the blessed confidence of another confident believer who — also in the face of death — said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” (Acts 7:59).
Oh, grant that in Thy holy Word
We here may live and die, dear Lord;
And when our journey endeth here,
Receive us into glory there.
Amen (TLH #292:9)