Text: 2 Timothy 1:6-14
In today’s passage, Paul wrote this letter to Timothy while he was imprisoned in Rome. This imprisonment of Paul is quite different from the previous ones that he experienced. Why? Because this time, he was expecting to be executed—simply saying, to die. However, as you read through the passages written by Paul, it seems like he has this kind of confidence despite his dire situation.
I specifically chose this passage because of verse 7, “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” The Greek form here is “deilia,” quite different from the terms we learned before when we speak about the Fear of the Lord, or God’s Fear both in OT and NT. This fear is the kind of feeling that we need to throw away and welcome in our hearts. It “refers to one who flees from battle, and has a strong pejorative sense referring to cowardice… [compared to] Boldness, not cowardice, is a mark of the Spirit (see Prov. 28:1; Acts 4:31).”
Plagues in Church History
- The Ten Plagues before the Israelite’s Exodus from Egypt
- Ancient Plagues (Athens [429 BC]; Antonine [165-180]; Cyprian [250-266]; Roman ).
- The Black Death (1348-9); London (1563-4; 1592-3); Great Plague (1665-6)
- Spanish Flu (1918); AIDS (1981-);
- SARS (2002-2004); Swine Flu; MERS; Zika; and Ebola (2018)
Even Martin Luther, during the deadly plague that struck Wittenberg in 1527, continued to minister even though the government official left them already. In his letter to a certain pastor, Luther exemplified the balance of fight and flight responses.
The response and resolution to this “sinful fear”—the one that retreats or flees from God—is found in the following verses. Verses 8-10 can be a summary of the Gospel. And verses 11-14 as something that we ought to endure while living on earth. Read these verses.
Again, Christ suffered so he can be one with us. At the same time, we share this suffering so we can be like Christ. 2 Timothy 2, “11 Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; 12 if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; 13 if we are faithless, He remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.”
- Christ as our Confidant produces three things:
It brings us Comfort because:
- Christ Listens, 1 John 5:15, “And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.”
- Christ Sympathizes, Hebrews 4:15, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
- It draws us to Assurance,
- Eternal Security, 11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. (1 John 5:11-13)
- The Spirit’s Indwelling, 2 Tim 1:14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.
Prudence is necessary as we navigate through this pandemic. Yet, it is still necessary to understand if we are truly fearing God or running away from Him. Is this moment, or your moment that you experience is drawing you closer to God or not? It is not limited to the Covid situation, but in each aspect of our life that causes us fear. Rest assured that at any point of this matter, Jesus Christ is the only solid, unchangeable, unshakeable reality that He is our very confidant.
Ptr. John Paul Arceno
UCBC New Jersey
January 9, 2022
This section is an excerpt only; download the full manuscript here.