2 Timothy 1:12
For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed…
I. First, observe WHAT PAUL HAD DONE.
1. He had trusted a person — "I know whom I have believed."
2. Paul had gone farther, and had practically carried out his confidence, for he had deposited everything with this person. A poor idiot, who had been instructed by an earnest Christian man, somewhat alarmed him by a strange remark, for he feared that all his teaching had been in vain. He said to this poor creature, "You know that you have a soul, John?" "No," said he, "I have no soul." "No soul!" thought the teacher, "this is dreadful ignorance." All his fears were rolled away when his half-witted pupil added, "I had a soul once, and I lost it, and Jesus found it; and so I have let Him keep it."
II. The next thing is, WHAT DID PAUL KNOW? He tells us plainly, "I know whom I have believed."
1. We are to understand by this that Paul looked steadily at the object of his confidence, and knew that he relied upon God in Christ Jesus. He did not rest in a vague hope that he would be saved; nor in an indefinite reliance upon the Christian religion; nor in a sanguine expectation that all things would, somehow, turn out right at the end. He did not hold the theory of our modern divines, that our Lord Jesus Christ did something or other, which, in one way or another, is more or less remotely connected with the forgiveness of sin; but he knew the Lord Jesus Christ as a person, and he deliberately placed himself in His keeping, knowing Him to be the Saviour.
2. Paul also knew the character of Jesus whom he trusted. His perfect character abundantly justified the apostle's implicit trust. Paul could have said, "I know that I trust in One who is no mere man, but very God of very God. I have not put my soul into the keeping of a priest, like unto the sons of Aaron, who must die; but I have rested myself in One whose priesthood is according to the law of an endless life — A Priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. He upon whom I confide is He without whom was not anything made that was made, who sustaineth all things by the Word of His power, and who at His coming shall shake both the heavens and the earth, for all fulness of Divine energy dwells in Him."
3. But how did Paul come to know Christ? Every page of Scripture, as the apostle perused it, revealed Jesus to him. This book is a royal pavilion, within which the Prince of peace is to be met with by believers who look for Him. In this celestial mirror Jesus is reflected. Paul also knew Jesus in another way than this. He had personal acquaintance with Him; he knew Him as "the Lord Jesus, who appeared unto him in the way." He knew the Lord also by practical experience and trial of Him. Paul had tested Jesus amidst furious mobs, when stones fell about him, and in prison, when the death-damp chilled him to the bone. He had known Christ far out at sea, when Euroclydon drove him up and down in the Adriatic; and he had known Christ when the rough blasts of unbrotherly suspicion had beaten upon him on the land. All that he knew increased his confidence. He knew the Lord Jesus because He had delivered him out of the mouth of the lion.
III. Thirdly, let us inquire — WHAT WAS THE APOSTLE PERSUADED OF?
1. Implicitly Paul declares his faith in our Lord's willingness and faithfulness.
2. But the point which the apostle expressly mentions is the power of Christ — "I am persuaded that He is able." He that goes on board a great Atlantic liner does not say, "I venture the weight of my body upon this vessel. I trust it to bear my ponderous frame." Yet your body is more of a load to the vessel than your soul is to the Lord Jesus. Did you ever hear of the gnat on the horn of the ex which feared that it might be an inconvenience to the huge creature? Oh, friend! you are but a gnat in comparison with the Lord Jesus, nay, you are not so heavy to the ascended Saviour as the gnat to the ox. You were a weight to Him once, but having borne that load once for all, your salvation is no burden to Him now. Well may you say, "I am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him."
3. What was this which Paul had committed to Christ? He committed to Him everything that he had for time and for eternity; his body, his soul, his spirit; all fears, cares, dangers, sins, doubts, hopes, joys: he just made a clean removal of his all from himself to his Lord. Those of you who are acquainted with the original will follow me while I forge a link between my third division and my fourth. If I were to read the text thus it would be quite correct — "I am persuaded that He is able to keep my deposit against that day." Here we have a glimpse of a second meaning. If you have the Revised Version, you will find in the margin "that which He has committed to me"; and the original allows us to read the verse whichever way we choose — "He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him" — or "that which He has committed unto me." This last expression, though I could not endorse it as giving the full sense of the text, does seem to me to be a part of its meaning. It is noteworthy that, in the fourteenth verse, the original has the same phrase as in this verse. It runs thus — "That good deposit guard by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us." Inasmuch as the words are the same — the apostle speaking of "my deposit" in the twelfth verse, and in the fourteenth verse speaking of "that good deposit" — I cannot help thinking that one thought dominated his mind. His soul and the gospel were so united as to be in his thought but one deposit; and this he believed that Jesus was able to keep. He seemed to say, "I have preached the gospel which was committed to my trust; and now, for having preached it, I am put in prison, and am likely to die; but the gospel is safe in better hands than mine." The demon of distrust might have whispered to him, "Paul, you are now silenced, and your gospel will be silenced with you; the Church will die out; truth will become extinct." "No, no," saith Paul, "I am not ashamed; for I know that He is able to guard my deposit against that day."
IV. This leads me on to this fourth point — WHAT THE APOSTLE WAS CONCERNED ABOUT. The matter about which he was concerned was this deposit of his — this everlasting gospel of the blessed God. He expresses his concern in the following words — "Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us."
1. He is concerned for the steadfastness of Timothy, and as I think for that of all young Christians, and especially of all young preachers. What does he say? "Hold fast the form of sound words." I hear an objector murmur, "There is not much in words, surely." Sometimes there is very much in words. Vital truth may hinge upon a single word. The whole Church of Christ once fought a tremendous battle over a syllable; but it was necessary to fight it for the conservation of the truth. When people rail at creeds as having no vitality, I suppose that I hear one say that there is no life in egg-shells. Just so; there is no life in egg-shells, they are just so much lime, void of sensation. "Pray, my dear sir, do not put yourself out to defend a mere shell." Truly, good friend, I am no trifler, nor so litigious as to fight for a mere shell. But hearken! I have discovered that when you break egg-shells you spoil eggs; and I have learned that eggs do not hatch and produce life when shells are cracked.
2. The apostle was anxious, not only that the men should stand, but that the everlasting gospel itself should be guarded. "That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us." It were better for us that the sun were quenched than that the gospel were gone. I believe that the moralities, the liberties, and peradventure the very existence of a nation depend upon the proclamation of the gospel in its midst. How are we to keep the faith? There is only one way. It is of little use trying to guard the gospel by writing it down in a trust-deed; it is of small service to ask men to subscribe to a creed: we must go to work in a more effectual way. How is the gospel to be guarded? "By the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us." If the Holy Spirit dwells in you, and you obey His monitions, and are moulded by His influences, and exhibit the result of His work in the holiness of your lives, then the faith will be kept. A holy people are the true body-guard of the gospel.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.
WEB: For this cause I also suffer these things. Yet I am not ashamed, for I know him whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he is able to guard that which I have committed to him against that day.