It’s easy to sit here on my couch, coffee in hand, read these words in Second Timothy from my pretty Bible, and miss the profound depth of them.
These are hard-lived, holy last words from a dying brother who is full of strength and joy.
It should cause us to pause.
The world around Paul was in chaos because of what Jesus had done on the Cross. Everything had changed.
The sinless Savior had come into the world and willingly suffered and died. He had given His life as a ransom for all who would believe. The veil had been torn and a way was made for sinful men to come to the One True, Holy of Holies, God!
Those who knew the truth, The Way, were telling others of this wonderful news!
Christianity was spreading like wildfire and those in power felt threatened. And the ruler of this world and his evil minions were using this and waging all-out war (he still is).
As Paul sat in chains surrounded by the stench of human waste, he wrote to Timothy to not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord and to join him in sharing in the sufferings for the gospel. (2 Tim 1:8)
This was a hard ask.
Many who had responded to the call to be the Lord’s disciples had indeed suffered and died martyrs’ deaths for their beliefs.
They still are.
And this we need to remember- this belief that Paul and others were willing to die to share is not a list of rules or a political ideology.
The gospel is GOOD NEWS! It is LIFE for those who are dead in their sins ! It is LIGHT to those walking in darkness!
It is peace and joy and hope that cannot be taken away by the circumstances of this temporary world!
The gospel was Paul’s mission, but it was also his hope! And it is ours!
And, though it may cost us, we, who have been set free are called to join in the battle for the cause of Christ.
Oh friend, read these words from a dying saint who was full of strength and joy. We have that same strength and joy in Jesus. Take these words to heart! What a Savior we serve!
“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, (2 Tim 1:8-10)
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