Guarding the Faith
2 Timothy 4:6-8
For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.…

I. THE PRECIOUSNESS OF THAT WHICH HE HAD KEPT. He was the emissary of the great Physician, who had but one remedy, one panacea for the one radical disease of man. In Rome he said, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation unto every one that believeth, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." In Corinth he would say, "The Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling-block, and to the Greeks foolishness; but to them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God." In Galatia he would say, "God forbid that I should glory save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, whereby the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world."

II. THE STRENUOUSNESS WITH WHICH HE HAD GUARDED IT. Think you that he had no difficulties with which to cope? Was there to him no maze in Providence, no labyrinth which he found it impossible to track and thread? Providence in many of its movements was to him, as to us, an impenetrable mystery; but still he "kept the faith." Think you that he found no difficulties in comprehending the dispensations through which God had manifested Himself to man; and that the wonder never rose up in his mind how it was that thousands of years had to pass away before the incarnation of the Son of God and the redemption of the Cross? He must have been less than man, or greatly more than man, if he could have sounded this depth; but still he "kept the faith."

III. HIS SUCCESS IN GUARDING THE FAITH. How he kept it he does not tell us here; but we catch glimpses, here and there, of the secret of his power. He kept it on his knees, kept it when he prayed night and day with tears. And be sure there is no faith, no true faith, no faith that will hold a man firm, which can be kept apart from fellowship with God. We can keep a creed without Divine help — we can keep a creed through the force of prejudice- through the force of obstinacy — through the force of ignorance — through the force of custom and social sanction — through the force of policy. To keep a creed is the easiest thing in the world, for it can lie, made up and dead, in some undisturbed chamber of the brain. But oh! to keep a faith is far from easy; for a faith to be a faith at all must be living, and if it be living, it must meet the onset of a thousand circumstances by which it will be tested. It will be tested by the influence of our obstinate corruption — it will be tested by the temptations of the world, by its maxims and customs — it will be tested by promises of advantage if only we will be faithless to our profession — it will be tested by changes in our circumstances, whether they be from poverty to wealth, or from wealth to poverty — it will be tested by those strange aspects of providence which bewilder at times the strongest minds, and make their feet almost to slip — it will be tested by the indifference or lukewarm ness of those around us. Happy the man who brings his faith through all these things. He is like a fire-safe, which guards its treasure unhurt, amid the flames which have raged around it in vain.

(E. Mellor, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.

WEB: For I am already being offered, and the time of my departure has come.

Good-Bye to the World
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