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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

FAITHFUL SAYINGS

2 Tim 2:11-13 It is a faithful saying: for if we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him: if we suffer, we shall also reign with Him: if we deny Him, He also will deny us: if we believe not, yet He abideth faithful: He cannot deny Himself.

In Paul's first letter to Timothy, He wrote: this is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief (1 Tim. 1:15). Paul uses the same introduction, as he continues his encouragement to Timothy, to bear the trials and tribulations assured to all that preach and teach eternal salvation, through Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Here Paul presents to him a few Holy Spirit-inspired truths worthy of Timothy's consideration. He was to believe them, and include them in his lessons to Christian audiences, wherever he had opportunity to preach the word of God.

What great assurance Paul gives in the first faithful saying of the lesson text. Regarding our spiritual relationship with Christ Jesus, Paul said: for if we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him. During His life on earth, Jesus gave us this prophesy of His death, and His resurrection, and, following it, gave assurance to His disciples, and by inference, to all faithful Christians, that after physical death, we will be resurrected and enjoy a new, eternal life with Him in Heaven. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth Me no more; but ye see Me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in My Father, and ye in Me, and I in you (John 14:18-20).

This being a faithful saying, in order to receive life everlasting, we need to be dead with Him, that is, dead with Jesus Christ. How, then, does one die with Christ? Paul answers this question with another question. To the Roman Christians Paul wrote, know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death (Rom. 6:3)? In order to become a Christian, we must be buried with Him in baptism (Col. 2:12a). Being dead with Him, we shall also live with Him. The reference, in the letter to the church at Rome, continues by saying that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life (Vs. 4).

A faith in God and His Son, Jesus Christ, that culminates in baptism into Christ, results in a new creature being born. Once dead in our sins, we are born again - we are given a new life to live here on earth, and the opportunity to serve our Lord and Master. With this new life on earth, we are also given the hope of eternal salvation, available to all faithful followers of Christ. The same God that raised Jesus Christ will raise all mankind from physical death, and give them an immortal body. And by God's grace, eternal life in heaven is promised to all that obey His will.

Another faithful saying Paul gave Timothy, and gives us today, is that if we suffer, we shall also reign with Him. As followers of Christ we are assured of suffering the shameful reproach of the unbelievers of the world. However, the loss of favor in the eyes of the sinful world, in which we live, and the dishonor that is sure to come to all that become, and remain faithful to the cause of Christ, is easy to bear with the assurance that we shall also reign with Him in heaven. Again, Paul's letter to the Christians of Rome further explains this lesson text. There he tells us that when we are baptized into the body of Christ we become a child of God, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ. In doing so, we will suffer with Him, but we will also be glorified together with Him. Stated in a different way, Paul says that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory, which shall be revealed in us (Rom. 8:17-18).

This, too, is a faithful saying: ...if we deny Him, He will deny us. There can be no words uttered to mankind, that will be more devastatingly final, than those of Christ Jesus on Judgment Day, when he says to those that deny Him as the Son of God,I never knew you: depart from Me (Matt. 7:23). By giving in to the pressure of our peers and the persecutions of the world, we show our shame for once accepting Jesus as our Savior, and then falling away from service to Him. It is by this shame that we deny Jesus. Of these worldly actions Jesus, Himself, tells us that Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when He cometh in the glory of His Father with the holy angels (Mark 8:38, also see Luke 9:26). The apostle, Peter, denied Christ Jesus (Matt. 26:35), but afterwards recognized his shame,went out, and wept bitterly (Matt. 26:75). We must never be ashamed of confessing Jesus Christ as our Savior. If we deny Him, He will deny us.

Notice what Jesus said about our confession, and our denial of Him, as our Savior. Whosoever therefore shall confess Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father, which is in heaven (Matt. 10:32-33).

And finally, another faithful saying that Paul gives us by inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God is this: if we believe not, yet He abideth faithful; He cannot deny Himself. Unbelief in God and His Son, Jesus Christ has been, and continues to be, prevalent throughout the world. Unbelief is seen in those that have never named the Lord as the Savior of the world. It is also seen in those that, having once become a Christian by obeying the will of God and being baptized into the body of Christ, to then deny Him by their actions, and return to their sinful conduct of life. As we have already noted above, those that turn away from serving God through our Savior, Jesus says, I will also deny before My Father, which is in heaven. Jesus abideth faithful, that is, He has unwavering faithfulness. He will assuredly carry out that which He has promised. He is the Son of God, and He, too, cannot lie. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away (Matt. 24:35).

For Jesus to uphold the unrighteous sinners of the world as worthy of eternal salvation before God, He must declare, as untrue, His confession and denial statement that is recorded in Matthew 10:32-33. In other words, Christ Jesus must deny Himself by contradicting what He had previously stated as true. But that cannot be, because Paul gives us the assurance that what Jesus has promised He will do because He cannot deny Himself.

These truths, written by the apostle Paul, which were given to him through the Holy Spirit of God, have been preserved for out spiritual benefit. We must learn them, believe them, and faithfully practice them in our lives, because each one is a faithful saying!