“It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.”
(2 Timothy 2:11-13)
Today’s verse passage is one of several formalized creeds found embedded within the New Testament text. These poetic, liturgical statements summarize important tenets of the Christian faith. Other examples include 1 Corinthians 15:3-7, Philippians 2:5-11, and 1 Timothy 3:16. These types of creedal statements were “of first importance” (1 Corinthians 15:3, ESV); they would have been among the first things evangelists shared with their prospective converts. Today’s “faithful saying” reminds us of precious spiritual realities that we would do well to reflect on. It begins by drawing our attention to our close association with the Savior Himself. “If we be dead with Him…” Our Lord is both the way (John 14:6) and the One Who shows us the way. He is the forerunner (Hebrews 6:10), the trailblazer Who has gone on ahead of us. As He had to die to self, to set aside His own desires in order to fulfill the known will of His Father (Luke 22:42), we too are called to offer our very bodies as “living sacrifices” inservice to God (Romans 12:1). Just as Christ was raised in glory, we who have followed Him in this life will be raised in like manner (Philippians 3:20-21). “Because I live,” said the Savior, “ye shall live also” (John 14:19). How astounding it is to think that, just as Jesus was raised in glory to the position of highest authority (Philippians 2:9-11), we too will be raised to function as glorified priests and kings (Revelation 5:9-10). This of course depends upon our response to His gracious call to believe in Him for salvation. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” said Jesus (Matthew 12:34) and a saved person is one who unashamedly confesses Jesus before men. Paul explained that “With the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:10). It is also true that if men will suppress and deny the truth about Jesus, His identity, and redemptive work, the Lord will deny them before His Father (Luke 9:26). The final line of the statement is particularly instructive and encouraging. It reminds us that humans, frail and flawed, determine very little ultimately. They can choose to disbelieve the message of God’s servants on the earth; they can ignore God’s revelation and live as they please, but this will do absolutely nothing to change who God is or how He has chosen to govern man. He ever remains faithful to His word because, as we have seen, words reflect the position of the heart. God’s word reflects Who He is, His holy and morally-perfect character. Because He cannot deny Himself we may be very sure that He will keep every precious promise He has ever made to us; and how great are those promises! Hallelujah and Maranatha!