2 Timothy 1:7-18: Not Ashamed

Read: 2 Timothy 1:7-18

Paul called for Timothy to rekindle the gifts that had been bestowed upon because God did not give him a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, love, and self-control. This reminder to rekindle the gifts prompts Paul to write about the implications of this rekindling: to be unashamed. Paul encourages Timothy to be “not ashamed” of the testimony of Jesus or Paul. Paul before he went to Rome declares to the Romans that he is not ashamed of the gospel because power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16). Paul wants Timothy to join him in the suffering for the sake of the gospel – that is, as Paul describes the bringing of immortality by conquering death. John calls it “eternal life” (John 3:15-16, John 17:3, John 12:50, etc.) Paul calls it eternal life elsewhere (1 Timothy 1:16, Titus 1:2) Paul was appointed an apostle, preacher, and teacher of this gospel, and Timothy, his protégé, is also like him in this respect in that he is a preacher and teacher of the gospel. Paul’s unashamed because of the certainty of what he believes and who he believes in, namely Jesus Christ. Paul later recalls some of those who abandoned him because they were ashamed that Paul was imprisoned: Phygelus and Hermogenes. Paul yet recalls Onesiphorus, who went to Paul and Rome while Onesiphorus was visiting there. Paul recalls what services Onesiphorus rendered in Ephesus and later salutes Onesiphorus’ house because of this.

Sandwiched between his recalls of abandonment and his encouragement to Timothy, Paul gives Timothy two commands. First, he says that retain the standard of “sound words”, that is the sound doctrines that Timothy had received from Paul. Paul qualifies this command with faith and love in Jesus Christ. These sound words are not only right doctrine, but right action on the part of Timothy. These doctrines were not only taught, but lived out accordingly by Paul such that Paul was an example of the faith and love that is in Christ Jesus. Second, Paul commands Timothy to guard the “treasure” through the Holy Spirit which was entrusted to him. Paul does not specify what these treasures are, but that which is entrusted to a person, is generally speaking, not owned by that person. Timothy had been sent to Ephesus to the pastor the church there. Paul had advised the elders in Ephesus to shepherd the “flock” (that is the church at Ephesus) there in the Holy Spirit (Acts 20:28). Paul in Acts notes that Jesus bought these with his own blood. They belong to him, but are entrusted to the elders there. Timothy is likely receiving the same sort of commission here to be on guard against threats from within and from without. Timothy, with a spirit of power, can exercise his gifts in love to hold fast to sound doctrine and guard the flock entrusted to him.

Paul is convinced of Timothy’s faith that he received, and he encourages Timothy to join in his suffering for the sake of gospel of Jesus. Paul notes that he is in chains because of the gospel and adds two names to the hall of shame and one to the hall of fame of faith. Persecution for the sake of the gospel did not stop with Paul and Timothy – it continues all over the world today: Many nameless believers die every day because they, like Paul, are not ashamed of the gospel and have taken stock in the promises of Jesus to bring immortality. This sort of hope makes death rather moot, so one has a spirit of power and can stay faithful to the truth of the gospel and guard those who they shepherd, whoever they may be. But even when persecution is not prevalent, other things, such as busyness, apathy, comfort, inclusivism, materialism, among many other things can seep into the church and lives of believers and cause people to become ashamed of the gospel. Christians who are not experiencing persecution should still obey the commands Paul gave Timothy: to hold fast to sound doctrine and guard what is entrusted to them whether this be family, a church, a class, a small group, friends, even one’s own self. Christians should be alert and unashamed in a spirit of power, love, and self-control, on the watch for danger.

Lord, help me not be ashamed of the gospel, for it is what brings life!