Paul was on trial, in chains, and thought he might soon be sentenced to death. Paul’s letter to Timothy is like his will, the last message he wanted to leave for his dear friend.
Paul trusted Jesus because of his encounter with the risen Lord on the road to Damascus, and because he had found Jesus to be faithful through many difficult life experiences. Paul is introduced in the New Testament as an opponent of Christianity and said of himself, “I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison,” (Acts 22:4) But having met Jesus on the road to Damascus, Paul’s life had changed. Rather than his old way of life, arresting and persecuting Christians, now Paul was arrested, persecuted and awaiting death.
Before his death, Paul wanted to remind Timothy of the promise of life found in Jesus Christ. That life was marked by both, a knowledge of Jesus leading us through our earthly years, and also being with us through eternity. “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21) He also wanted Timothy to remember Jesus “… has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.” (2 Timothy 1:9) Salvation is a gift, offered to us. Salvation, which we cannot earn, is freely given to us by the trustworthy saviour. We can never be good enough to merit salvation, neither can we be bad enough that God can’t save us. God doesn’t give eternal life as a meagre ration, he gives generously, gladly and with joy.
Paul also reminds Timothy this new life is not to be lived like the old life as if nothing has happened or nothing has changed. Rather, we are to live a “holy life” a life which reflects the “purpose” of God. Too many people in our day are suffering from what has been called the “lack of meaning crisis.” For the Christian, life is full of meaning and purpose as we live out the characteristics of Jesus’ love, goodness, kindness. It is also lived as we seek God’s will and discover the purposes he has for us.
Furthermore, Paul points out to Timothy that Jesus the trustworthy saviour is also the righteous judge we will face on the day of judgement. “Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:8) On that day we will not face a judge who will punish us, but one who will reward us with a crown of righteousness. In Paul’s day the winners at the Olympic games were not given medals but Laurel crowns. We are familiar with the pride we felt as a nation each time one of our Olympians was awarded a medal. Imagine the pride and joy we will feel as we watch all our sisters and brothers in the faith being awarded their crown of righteousness. This is the future that awaits those who put their trust in the trustworthy Saviour.
For Paul Jesus is trustworthy because he died for us, is faithful throughout our lives, gives us new purpose in life, can be trusted with our eternity, and who will reward us on the day of judgement. Last week we considered the Trustworthy Word and today the Trustworthy Saviour. We can take great confidence from this. If you have not yet put your faith in Jesus, then I encourage you to do so now. If Jesus is a trustworthy Saviour and the bible is the trustworthy word from God, surely today is the day to trust that for ourselves.
What reasons do you have for trusting or not trusting Jesus?
How do you think Timothy might have responded to Paul’s reasons for seeing Jesus as the Trustworthy Saviour?
Rev John Malcolm