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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

I KNOW WHOM I HAVE BELIEVED

2 Tim 1:11-13 Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. 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.

In the two verses preceding the lesson text, Paul, in a few words, stated the gospel message of salvation in a succinct manner. This was the message that Paul was appointed to preach, and it was for this cause that he was called, by Jesus Christ, Himself, to be an apostle, inspired by the Holy Spirit, to teach and explain God's plan of eternal salvation throughout the known world, especially to Gentile nations. The appointment to these spiritual positions, Paul readily, and gladl,y accepted, which included the need to teach the gospel message of salvation through Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Paul adds, for the which cause I also suffer these things.

No doubt all of the apostles, and other inspired disciples of Christ, suffered persecutions for preaching and teaching the gospel of Christ. However, none were made so evident, and so vividly depicted in God's word, than the trials, tribulations, and persecutions of the apostle Paul. It was a cause that he gladly proclaimed the gospel of Jesus, regardless of the suffering that Christ promised that he must suffer for My name's sake (Acts 9:16). It was a cause for which Paul was totally dedicated - a cause for which he was willing to give his life (Acts 21:13). And finally, it was for this cause that Paul was imprisoned (Eph. 3:1), and eventually slain.

This is the same gospel message of eternal salvation Paul was called to teach, and for which he stated, I am not ashamed (Rom. 1:16). Paul did not want the young preacher, Timothy, to be ashamed of preaching these same truths, exhorting him to never be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner (Vs. 8 above). Paul now tells us why he was so dedicated to the cause of Christ, for which he is willing to die. He does so by stating this often quoted passage: 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.

What did Paul mean when he said I know whom I have believed? Sometimes it is difficult to believe in someone that you are not well acquainted with. But Paul's belief, in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, was well founded in Old Testament prophesy, and reinforced by Jesus, Himself, whom he met on the road to Damascus, and by whom he was converted to become His follower and chosen apostle. It was easy for Paul to believe in Jesus Christ because he knew Him. To the church of Christ in Philippi, Paul confirmed this when he wrote: I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord (Phil. 3:8).

The fact that he knew, and believed, Jesus Christ to be God's Son, and the Savior of the world, he indicated that he was easily persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day. With this deep understanding and knowledge of God's plan of eternal salvation, Paul had the self assurance that, in following Jesus Christ, he was traveling the road he was chosen to travel, faithfully serving the cause of Christ, consistently heeding the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and zealously obeying the will of God. With this strong faith, and with his complete trust in Christ Jesus, Paul committed his life on earth to His service - to follow Jesus' inspired instructions, and fulfill his assigned mission of revealing God's plan of eternal salvation to the world. In doing so, Paul demonstrated his dedicated faith and trust in the God of all Heaven and Earth. He did so by committing his life, and soul to the keeping of his Creator.

His life on earth given to Jesus Christ, and his soul committed to God, Paul, recommended that Timothy make this same commitment. And, by example, this same recommendation was made by Paul to all followers of Christ. Living a life of obedience to the will of God, and faithfully dedicated to upholding and teaching the cause for which Christ died, Paul, Timothy, and Christians of all ages, know that our souls will be securely kept by Him against that day - the Day of Judgment when God will fulfill this promise: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing (2 Tim. 4:8). Paul said that I know whom I have believed. All Christians must so believe!