June 04, 2020 – Thursday
2 Timothy 3:10-13 NIV
10 You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance,
11 persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them.
12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,
13 while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
There is an intensity in this second letter to Timothy from Paul because Paul is in Rome in prison once again. After he wrote this letter Nero condemned him and had him executed. In the next chapter Paul wrote in verse six For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. So it would be fitting for us to think upon Paul’s words in this letter with great care as they are being written by a man who expects to be executed in the near future. He was indeed executed, most believe it was by being beheaded.
With this in mind, let us look at our verses for today where Paul mentions persecution three times. Twice applicable to himself and once applicable to Christians where he said everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
So what does it mean to want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus and in successfully doing so the result will be persecution? Ellicott’s Commentary makes the point To the statement, “all that will live godly,” it is noticeable that the Apostle adds “in Christ Jesus:” thus telling us there can be no true piety except in communion with Him. It is evident here Paul wants us to know it will be impossible to lead a godly life without a relationship with Jesus. Still, why will this lead to persecution? After all we live in a time in the United States where Christians face only minor persecution, although that is changing and growing. Many today are almost embarrassed to let others know because they are Christians they do not agree with a number of politically correct positions which are in conflict with God’s Word. And when they do make their positions known, they are called haters and shunned by many.
Why is this so? The answer can be found in scripture. Looking at John 15:19 where Jesus says If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Paul gives clear evidence of this in the last verse of the day above when he says, evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. Who are these evildoers and impostors? Paul provides the answer to that question at the beginning of this chapter in verses two through five People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power. And ends with the admonition Have nothing to do with such people.
These people we are to have nothing to do with are the same people who will persecute us by labeling us haters, seeking to have us shunned, doing their best to keep us from positions of leadership. Only the blessing of living in the USA keeps it from being worse, much worse as in many other parts of the world today. Here we can live in the world without being part of the world. So what if there are those whom we can see are lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God who look down upon us. Unlike them, we know Jesus as our Lord and Savior, the author of our salvation through the love of Him, His Father, and the Holy Spirit.
We know the reality of Jesus while they chase this life as if it is eternal, but it is not. Instead as James in 4:14b says, What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. What we have is real and eternal, knowing that and God’s love is what sustains us.