Editorial: Therefore I Endure All Things…

Editorial: Therefore I Endure All Things…

“Therefore I endure all things for the elects’ sakes…” 2 Timothy 2:10

Second Timothy is Paul’s last words to the church. The letter has a warm yet sober character to it, as Paul both encourages and challenges his younger fellow worker in the duty that lay before him. The letter has tremendous contemporary application to us today, as like Timothy, duty calls us in our generation and we must answer this call.

This kind of language is foreign to worldly thinking, where self sacrifice is a quaint notion of the past or at least only a temporary arrangement until ideals of success are personally realized. The notion of pouring out one’s life for service of another, with no personal benefit accruing to us has never been the thinking of the natural man.

In that there is nothing new. What is unsettling however is when the call to service for God, which includes personal cost, not convenience, is rejected among professing Christians. When the Christian’s goals, lifestyles, dreams, concerns and tears are indistinguishable from the worlds, we have sunk to an unacceptable low spiritual state.

Paul was a man who this world could not touch. He had witnessed the ‘eternal glory’. The verse quoted above finishes this way, ‘that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.’ How could the world compete with ‘eternal glory’?

But pursuing the things of ‘eternal glory’ meant ‘endur(ing) all things for the elects’ sakes’. Confining ourselves to 2 Timothy here are some of the things Paul endured. Rejection by those he once served (1:15), falsely imprisoned (2:9), persecution (3:10-12), desertion by one time fellow labourer (4:10), personal attacks for his stand for truth (4:14), abandonment by fellow believers in his hour of need (4:16, 17). And of course his life’s work is seen through the Acts and his epistles telling of sufferings and sacrifice for Christ.

These things seem remote to many of us in Western world at least. It seems more like stories of a distant past or what to many of us are foreign countries. Certainly we see ominous signs in even the freedoms of the west. But for the present many freedoms remain intact. Paul’s words of the first epistle are timely,“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” (1 Tim. 2:1, 2)

And Paul’s challenge remains. Are we willing to ‘endure all things for the elects’ sake’? Am I prepared to be available to the Lord and to his people to do what is necessary for the advancing of the gospel and growth in the local church? Or is my Christian life only one of convenience? Do I complain or feel imposed upon when demands are placed on me. Listen again to Paul’s words, ‘Therefore I endure all things for the elects’ sakes..’

To think and live like Paul, we are helped if we understand the divine plan. Paul goes on to say, ‘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.’ (2 Tim. 2:11-13). The expectation of future reigning with Him simply crushed any worldly ambition or ease of life now. To be denied future reward because we denied His right in our lives now was unthinkable for Paul. Although salvation is always secure, future service will be determined by present service.

What about our generation? Are we willing to embrace the spirit of Paul? Are we prepared to view eternity’s values and let them be the vision of our lives? Perhaps the time is now for all of us, to set aside the wasted years and squandered opportunities and give ourselves afresh to the Lord in unreserved service for Him. He can take us where we are and do great things. No price is too high for Him. ‘Therefore I endure all things for the elects’ sakes.’

 

 

 

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