2 Timothy 2:13
If we believe not, yet he stays faithful: he cannot deny himself.
I. THE SAD POSSIBILITY, AND THE CONSOLING ASSURANCE — "If we believe not, yet He abideth faithful." I must take the sad possibility first — "if we believe not," and I shall read this expression as though, first of all, it concerned the world in general, for I think it may so be fairly read. If mankind believe not, if the various classes of men believe not — yet He abideth faithful. The rulers believed not, and there are some that make this a very great point. They said concerning Jesus, "Have any of the rulers believed on Him?" Well, if our greatest men, if our senators and magistrates, princes and potentates, believe not — it does not affect the truth of God in the smallest conceivable degree — "yet He abideth faithful." Many, however, think it more important to know on which side the leaders of thought are enlisted, and there are certain persons who are not elected to that particular office by popular vote, who nevertheless take it upon themselves to consider that they are dictators in the republic of opinion. However, we need not care because of these wise men, for if they believe not, but becloud the gospel, yet God abideth faithful. Yes, and I venture to enlarge this thought a little more. If the rulers do not believe, and if the philosophical minds do not believe, and if in addition to this public opinion, so called, rejects it, yet the gospel is still the same eternal truth.
2. Now, having spoken of our text as referring to the world in general, it is, perhaps, a more sorrowful business to look at it as referring to the visible church in particular. The apostle says, "Though we believe not," and surely he must mean the visible church of God.
3. Once more I will read the text in a somewhat narrower circle. "If we believe not" — that is to say, if the choicest teachers and preachers and writers believe not, yet He abideth faithful. Here, then, is the fearful possibility; and side by side with it runs this most blessedly consoling assurance — "He abideth faithful." Jesus Christ abideth: there are no shifts and changes in Him. He is a rock, and not a quicksand. He is the Saviour whether the rulers and the philosophers believe in Him or refuse Him, whether the Church dud her ministers are true to Him or desert Him. And as Christ remains the same Saviour, so we have the same gospel. And as the gospel is the same, so does Christ remain faithful to His engagements to His Father.
II. A GLORIOUS IMPOSSIBILITY WITH A SWEET INFERENCE THAT MAY BE DRAWN FROM IT. "He cannot deny Him self." Three things God cannot do. He cannot die, He cannot lie, and He cannot be deceived. These three impossibilities do not limit His power, but they magnify His majesty; for these would be infirmities, and infirmity can have no place in the infinite and ever blessed God. Here is one of the things impossible with God — "He cannot deny Himself." What is meant by that?
1. It is meant that the Lord Jesus Christ cannot change as to His nature and character towards us, the sons of men.
2. His word cannot alter.
3. He cannot withdraw the salvation which He has presented to the sons of men, for that salvation is indeed Himself.
4. And then the atonement is still the same, for that, too, is Himself: He has by Himself purged our sins.
5. And the mercy-seat, the place of prayer, still remains; for if that were altered He would have denied Himself, for what was the mercy-seat, or propitiatory, that golden lid upon the covenant ark? What was it but Christ Him self, who is our propitiatory, the true mercy-seat?
6. And here is another sweet thought: Christ's love to His Church, and His purpose towards her cannot change, because He cannot deny Himself, and His Church is Himself.
7. Nor will any one of His offices towards His Church and people ever fail.
8. Now, my last word is about an inference. The text says, "If we believe not, yet He abideth faithful": it runs on that supposition. Take the other supposition: Suppose we do believe. Will He not be faithful in that case? And will it not be true that He cannot deny Himself?
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.
WEB: If we are faithless, he remains faithful. He can't deny himself."