Wednesday, November 14, 2012
“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” (2 Timothy 1:12 KJV).
Life is dynamic; life in Christ is not!
This life is filled with uncertainty. It is dynamic, constantly changing. In short, it can be likened to a roller coaster. Emotions intensify that ride, too! We hear of people worried about their financial stability; their health; their social life; their education; and the wellbeing of their children, grandchildren, and friends.
As noted in today’s Scripture, the Apostle Paul was certainly not exempt from this life’s troubles. Unbelieving Jews followed him wherever he went (as documented throughout the book of Acts). They persecuted him and his Gentile converts (1 Thessalonians 2:14-16). Eventually, these wicked Jews convinced the Roman government to imprison—and finally execute—Paul.
Today’s Scripture is a portion of Paul’s final epistle, written shortly before his execution. Undoubtedly, when he spoke of his “suffering” for the sake of the Gospel of the Grace of God, he was reflecting on his ministry, the last 35 years of his life. We cannot imagine the horrific suffering of Paul, who endured at least 195 lashes; three beatings with rods; one stoning; three shipwrecks; a night and a day stranded in the sea; food, clothing, and shelter shortages; and numerous other troubling ordeals the Bible only briefly recounts (2 Corinthians 11:23-27).
Above all, while writing this final epistle, Paul is in prison again, and he confesses, “Only Luke is with me” (2 Timothy 4:11a). Over three awesome decades of ministry are drawing to a close, but Paul’s circumstances seem grim. He has been forsaken by nearly everyone, and his beheading is near. Regardless, Paul declares, “I am not ashamed.” He knew, no matter what had happened or would happen to his physical body, his spiritual body was secure in Christ (today’s Scripture).
Dear saints, let us remember this sound doctrine when life is difficult. Our circumstances will change; our identity in Christ never will! 🙂