“God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner” (2 Tim. 1:7-8).
These words of encouragement were written by the apostle Paul to Timothy, a tender-hearted young man. He lived at a time when it was definitely safer to not be associated with the testimony of the Lord or with Paul, who was a prisoner for the Lord in a Roman jail. Timothy keenly felt the low spiritual state of many professing Christians who no longer wished to be connected with Paul because of what he endured as a faithful servant of the Lord. Paul knew that Timothy’s faith was genuine, and he encouraged Timothy to be firm and faithful, unashamed of the testimony of the Lord or of his spiritual mentor.
The apostle Paul then began to unfold what God, in His sovereign grace, has given to us. There is nothing at all that we earned or deserved. Rather, God’s grace flowed down from His heart through our Lord Jesus Christ. This was God’s purpose “before the world began” (2 Timothy 1:9) and nothing in time could change what God had purposed. God was working out His wonderful plan of salvation, which has been unveiled by the appearing of our Savior.
This wonderful gospel message was given to the apostle Paul. Although he suffered persecution and imprisonment for this gospel, he could say, “I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day” (2 Timothy 1:12). Paul committed his past, present, and future entirely to the One in whom he believed. He had met this One on the road to Damascus when a bright light from Heaven struck him down (Acts 9). Could Paul now be ashamed of Him? No, this Jesus is the One whom God has made both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36), and Paul made Him Lord of his life.
Now what about us? Will you make Him Lord of your life? May we not be ashamed to be associated with Him in this world that has turned away from the Savior. “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” (Romans 1:16).
—Jacob Redekop, adapted