I was listening to a sermon last night and while listening the point really hit home and I remembered a verse that said the same thing. It’s one of those verses I can quote readily. It’s always on my tongue. I started to write an email to someone later relating that verse to the point made, but decided I would look it up, as I could not remember the context. Remember context? It’s kinda important.
II Timothy 2:13 “When we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot disown Himself.” Fantastic, right? Even when I am faithless, when I doubt and do not live in trusting obedience, what happens? God is still faithful. He cannot disown Himself. God cannot act contrary to his nature. His nature is faithful.
That’s awesome, right? It’s all true. Taken as it is, it might be a proof verse for eternal salvation. Taken in context, however, the passage is somewhat disturbing.
You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.
Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained. Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.
Here is a trustworthy saying:
If we died with him,
we will also live with him;
if we endure,
we will also reign with him.
If we disown him,
he will also disown us;
if we are faithless,
he remains faithful,
for he cannot disown himself.)
Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have departed from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some. Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.” 2 Timothy 2: 1-19 (NIV)
Wow. What is all that about “if we die with him”, “If we endure?” What about this: “If we disown him, he will disown us?” This means we need to dig deeper if we are to understand what this is saying. If we endure, it says, we will reign with him, but it also says if we disown him, he will disown us. That makes me think. That makes me want to dig deeper, to know more, to compare what he is saying to the rest of scripture to try to understand.
I guess my point here is that the verse stands on it’s own, in that it is truth all by itself, but without the context, we might read things into the statement that are not there, or we might miss something huge that is there. The truth I know in this is that God is faithful. He is true to his character and couldn’t be faithless if he tried. That’s a huge aspect of God’s character. That’s wonderful. Praise God that he is faithful through and through. His faithfulness is to all generations.
So let’s search Scripture to see what the rest of the passage means.