“Faithful Is The Saying …”

“… For if we died with him, we shall also live with him; if we endure, we shall also reign with him; if we shall deny him, he also will deny us: if we are faithless, he abideth faithful; for he cannot deny himself” (2 Tim. 2:11-13).

It is interesting that Paul speaks of “faithful sayings” in his three letters to those he calls his son or child; Timothy and Titus. Three times he wrote of a “faithful saying” aside from this present one. Three times to Timothy; 1 Timothy 1:15; 1 Timothy 4:9 and then this one. Once he wrote a “faithful saying” to his true child (Titus 3:8). We encourage you to read and reflect on these. In this fourth of his “faithful sayings” that saying is actually four things in which we may have full confidence.

“If we died with him, we shall also live with him.” There are two applications for this statement. First, Romans 6:3-5 speaks of us dying, then living with Christ. In that instance, the reference is to baptism where the believer is baptized into Christ’s death. We die to the guilt of sin in baptism if we have died to the love of sin in repentance. In baptism we are raised with Christ, walking in newness of life. There is another application of the statement in John 11:25 and 1 Thessalonians 4:5. In these two latter passages the emphasis is upon a person dying in faith. From John 11:25: “He that believeth on me, though he die, yet shall he live”; in 1 Thessalonians 4:5 God’s promise is that those who fall asleep in Jesus will Christ bring with Him when He comes for His living saints. We must die WITH Christ in order that we might live with Christ. We can hardly be said to have “died with Christ” if we allow the course of the world to rule our lives. The Colossians were asked the question: “If ye died with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world do you subject yourselves unto ordinances …” (Col. 2:20). We must die with Christ that we may live with Him.

“If we endure, we shall also reign with him.” To “endure” is to “hold up” no matter the circumstances. Jesus spoke those words to encourage His disciples suffering from persecutions for His name’s sake: “He that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved” (Mt. 10:22). He spoke the same words urging His disciples not to succumb during the trials that came about immediately before, during, and after the destruction of Jerusalem (Mt. 24:13). Paul’s words to Timothy here are tantamount to his words near the epistle’s end: “I have fought the good fight; I have finished the course … I have kept the faith, Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness …” (2 Tim. 4:7f). This truth, enduring and reigning, is illustrated in Revelation 6 and 20. Chapter 6 reveals souls under the altar who died for Christ; they poured out their life’s blood rather than turn from Him. They had endured. Then, in Revelation 20 the same souls are seen. They are now on thrones and judgment has been given to them. “They lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years” (Rev. 20:4).

“If we deny him, he shall deny us.” Jesus said, “He that confesseth me before men, him will I confess before my father which is in heaven. But he that denieth me before men, him will I also deny before my father which is in heaven” (Mt. 10:32-33). We must never be ashamed of Jesus nor His word. It should be our greatest joy to confess our faith in the Lord Jesus for “with the heart man believeth unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” WARNING: We can confess Jesus with our lips, yet deny Him. “They confess that they know him, but by their works they deny him; being abominable and disobedient and unto every good work, reprobate” (Titus 1:16).

“If we are faithless, he abideth faithful, for he cannot deny himself.” Faithless: without faith. If we are faithless, Christ still is faithful. He is a Faithful Creator (1 Pet. 4:19). He is faithful: He will not allow us to be tempted above our ability to resist (1 Cor. 10:13). Christ is a faithful, merciful high priest (Heb. 2:17). We are to hold fast the confession of our hope, He is faithful that promised (Heb. 10:23). God’s word is faithful and true. We may not keep our word, but Christ will keep His! If we are faithful, He will welcome us home! If we are faithless, He will cast us into eternal punishment. These are faithful sayings!

Jim McDonald

Bible Lectureship

(March 17-20, 2024)

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