Our call to war, to love the captive soul, but to rage against the captor; and with the sword that makes the wounded whole, we will fight with faith and valor.
— Keith and Kristen Getty, O Church Arise
As I was thinking about what topic to write on, I eventually decided to pick a passage in the Scripture instead. While teaching on a topic can sometimes be great, I feel like analyzing a passage of the Scriptures to be the best way to learn about the Word of God. So when I was looking at various passages, I came to one that I thought would be great to talk about. This past week I started back at school with academics, the Corp of Cadets and everything that is included with that. The passage can be found in 2 Timothy 2:1-7 (ESV).
Starting in verse 1 it reads, “You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.” It starts off urging Timothy to be strong in Jesus Christ. This is something all Christians should do. Alone, we are weak. Alone, we are going to fall. Alone, we cannot match Satan. However, with God, we are strong. With God, we can stand. With God, Satan has no match for us.
In order to keep the truth alive for future generations, we must spread the Word to faithful men who will teach others. This goes along with the Great Commission, where Jesus commands us to go out and make disciples of all nations. As time goes on, generations will come and go. Sure, new things can be great, but we must never loose sight of what it means to be a Christian.
The next verse reads, “Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” Paul, at the time, was in a Roman prison awaiting death. This was not exactly the most pleasant or comfortable situation to be in. However, Paul doesn’t let that get to him. The Bible clearly states that must be good soldiers of Christ to endure all things. He says later in 2 Timothy 2:8-10 (ESV), “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”
Christians will suffer, not only in the future, but even now there are Christians who experience persecution that ranges from rejection in society to the same suffering Paul had. Its no hidden secret. You would know these things if you read your Bible. However, Paul says to rejoice in these things. He says to be glad in them. One of my favorite passages is found in Romans 5:3-5 (ESV) as it reads, “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
Paul has a tendency to have one thing lead to another, that leads to another, that leads to another, and so on. He starts off explaining how sufferings produce endurance, which produces character or experience, which then produces hope. Jesus Christ Himself is hope. The elect believe in Him and hope in Him. We can be rest assured that the Word of God is not bound and cannot be bound. We must suffer through tribulations because of hope. Hope in Jesus Christ and hope in the salvation for the Elect of God.
The next few verses all are analogies that mean different things. Starting in verse 4-6, it reads, “No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops.”
The first analogy has to deal with a soldier getting tangled up in civilian affairs, rather than trying to please the one who enlisted him. When studying this passage, I noticed that there are some who misinterpret this verse to prove we must avoid everything secular. However, that is not the case. While all life must be spiritual, Paul is warning Timothy not to allow any secular thing to distract him while he pursues God’s will. Ultimately, this analogy is used as a calling for a single-minded desire to please God.
The next analogy is about an athlete. Paul is explaining how if a athlete cheats at an event, than the athlete will not win. There are no shortcuts to being a Christian. Because God chose me, I love Him. Because I love Him, I will follow His commandments. This analogy is used to reiterate that you must obey God’s rules in order to succeed.
The final analogy is about a farmer. There are several times when Jesus would give parables about farmers or farming. Why? Because it was a very common job for the time. The most hard working farmer should have the first share of the crop. After all, he did earn it by hard work. He probably was the one who got there the earliest, and stayed the latest. He probably made sure that what he did was right the first time to the best of his ability. That farmer would probably be the hardest working farmer because he cared about his job. Honestly, that is what we should strive to be as Christians. We should put in 110% of all we have. We should try hard because we should care about our religion. We should care about our salvation and other’s salvation. We should care because God cared enough to save us.
The final verse I am going to talk about is verse 7. There is really no better way to close a sermon or a blog post like this than what Paul writes. He says, “Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.” Sure, if you go to church or read Christian blogs, that’s great. But if you don’t meditate on what the content was or if you don’t understand it, then its pointless. So I urge you to think about what I said and to take it into consideration. Meditate and pray on it. Ultimately, continue to be a great soldier of Christ that He has called you to be.