II Timothy

II Timothy 1:1-7 The Faith Of Our Forefathers.

Paul was an apostle, that is an ambassador, a messenger not of his own doing, but called to this by the will of God. The message he was called to deliver is that in the gospel of Jesus Christ alone there is a promise of eternal life (v. 1). This hope of eternal life was promised before time began (Titus 1:2). This was Paul’s second letter to his pastoral protégé, his “true son in the faith” (I Tim. 1:2 Cf. II Tim. 2:1), but it was the last letter by him. In his typical greeting Paul sees mercy and peace flowing from grace-God’s unmerited favour (v. 2). The first thing to note, following the greeting, is that Paul gives thanks to God, whom he served “with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did” (v. 3a). Paul did not view himself as rejecting the religion of his forefathers when he was converted to Christ, rather he saw his calling as one which took him out of an apostate Judaism to acceptance of the Messiah whom his forefathers worshipped.

Paul was so convinced of this truth that he says that his conscience is pure. Paul had no doubts about this and therefore he preached the gospel with full integrity as that which his forefathers had also believed. “But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets” (Acts 24:14). So “without ceasing,” he remembered Timothy in his prayers night and day (v. 3b). Paul really wanted to be reunited with Timothy, and he also recalls the genuine faith history that was Timothy’s, a faith which dwelt first in his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice (Cf. Acts 16:1). Paul was persuaded that this same faith that his forefathers had, that he had, and that Timothy’s grandmother and mother had, was also in Timothy (v. 5). It wasn’t just external to Timothy, but this faith was in him, a faith which showed itself in Timothy’s life.

Paul wanted to see Timothy so that tears might be turned into joy (v. 4). Timothy also had a gift for the pastoral ministry, which he received from God when Paul laid hands on him at his ordination (v. 6 Cf. I Tim. 4:14) Paul wanted Timothy to preach and teach with boldness and conviction. The word for fear here denotes cowardice. Paul didn’t want Timothy to be a coward who feared what people would think of him or his message (Cf. Rom. 8:15). “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (v. 7). For this reason Paul was not ashamed of the gospel, because it is “the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (Rom. 1:16). We are also given the power to preach this gospel (Cf. Acts 1:8). Furthermore, “the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith” (I Tim. 1:5). The gospel also gives us a “sound mind,” that is, disciplined or under self-control.

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