2 Timothy 2* The apostle exhorts Timothy to persevere with diligence, likea soldier, a combatant, and a husbandman. (1-7) Encouraging himby assurances of a happy end of his faithfulness. (8-13)Warnings to shun vain babblings and dangerous errors. (14-21)Charges to flee youthful lusts, and to minister with zealagainst error, but with meekness of spirit. (22-26)1-7 As our trials increase, we need to grow stronger in thatwhich is good; our faith stronger, our resolution stronger, ourlove to God and Christ stronger. This is opposed to our beingstrong in our own strength. All Christians, but especiallyministers, must be faithful to their Captain, and resolute inhis cause. The great care of a Christian must be to pleaseChrist. We are to strive to get the mastery of our lusts andcorruptions, but we cannot expect the prize unless we observethe laws. We must take care that we do good in a right manner,that our good may not be spoken evil of. Some who are active,spend their zeal about outward forms and doubtful disputations.But those who strive lawfully shall be crowned at last. If wewould partake the fruits, we must labour; if we would gain theprize, we must run the race. We must do the will of God, beforewe receive the promises, for which reason we have need ofpatience. Together with our prayers for others, that the Lordwould give them understanding in all things, we must exhort andstir them up to consider what they hear or read. 8-13 Let suffering saints remember, and look to Jesus, theAuthor and Finisher of their faith, who for the joy that was setbefore him, endured the cross, despised the shame, and is nowset down at the right hand of the throne of God. We must notthink it strange if the best men meet with the worst treatment;but this is cheering, that the word of God is not bound. Here wesee the real and true cause of the apostle's suffering troublein, or for, the sake of the gospel. If we are dead to thisworld, its pleasures, profits, and honours, we shall be for everwith Christ in a better world. He is faithful to histhreatenings, and faithful to his promises. This truth makessure the unbeliever's condemnation, and the believer'ssalvation. 14-21 Those disposed to strive, commonly strive about mattersof small moment. But strifes of words destroy the things of God.The apostle mentions some who erred. They did not deny theresurrection, but they corrupted that true doctrine. Yet nothingcan be so foolish or erroneous, but it will overturn thetemporary faith of some professors. This foundation has twowritings on it. One speaks our comfort. None can overthrow thefaith of any whom God hath chosen. The other speaks our duty.Those who would have the comfort of the privilege, must makeconscience of the duty Christ gave himself for us, that he mightredeem us from all iniquity, #Tit 2:14|. The church of Christ islike a dwelling: some furniture is of great value; some ofsmaller value, and put to meaner uses. Some professors ofreligion are like vessels of wood and earth. When the vessels ofdishonour are cast out to be destroyed, the others will befilled with all the fulness of God. We must see to it that weare holy vessels. Every one in the church whom God approves,will be devoted to his Master's service, and thus fitted for hisuse. 22-26 The more we follow that which is good, the faster and thefurther we shall flee from that which is evil. The keeping upthe communion of saints, will take us from fellowship withunfruitful works of darkness. See how often the apostle cautionsagainst disputes in religion; which surely shows that religionconsists more in believing and practising what God requires,than in subtle disputes. Those are unapt to teach, who are aptto strive, and are fierce and froward. Teaching, notpersecution, is the Scripture method of dealing with those inerror. The same God who gives the discovery of the truth, by hisgrace brings us to acknowledge it, otherwise our hearts wouldcontinue to rebel against it. There is no "peradventure," inrespect of God's pardoning those who do repent; but we cannottell that he will give repentance to those who oppose his will.Sinners are taken in a snare, and in the worst snare, because itis the devil's; they are slaves to him. And if any long fordeliverance, let them remember they never can escape, except byrepentance, which is the gift of God; and we must ask it of himby earnest, persevering prayer.
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