2 Timothy 2:8-9 ~ "Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound!"
Beloved, we will suffer at the hands of the world for our willingness to stand firm for the gospel of Jesus Christ. This should not take us by surprise, however, as our Lord told us that these things would happen. Consider John 15:18, "If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you." Again, in John 15:20, Jesus says, "Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours."
It is a foolish thing, in the midst of a war raging around you, to ignore the battle taking place. Imagine yourself as a soldier on the frontlines and you live in denial of the ammunition flying overhead and the bombs exploding around you. If you take a casual stance in the conflict, you will become a casualty of war. Or, worse yet, you might decide that the struggle is not for you and so you abandon the gospel and turn away from the Lord Jesus. Hebrews 10:39 tells us much in regard to this, "But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls."
Paul was not one to "shrink back." In his continual preaching and teaching the gospel, he faced constant persecution and danger for his faithfulness to the Lord. The persecution ran so violent against him that he was often jailed, beaten, and hated. If you want a comprehensive list of Paul's persecutions, read 2 Corinthians 11:21-29.
But look at Paul's great boast: "the word of God is not bound!"
You must understand that God has given to us an unchained--and unchainable--gospel in Jesus Christ. The term "gospel" means "good news" and it is the best news to all who have put their faith in Christ. Do you understand how impossible it is to chain the gospel of the Lord? You might as well try to stop the sun from breaching the horizon.
2 Timothy is Paul's final letter before his execution by Rome. He knows that his days are now over (see 2 Timothy 4:6-8). But the apostle does not despair or think that the cause of Christ is over at his departure. He knows that no matter how bound up God's servants might become, the gospel of the Lord Jesus is never going to stop--it cannot.
And that, my friends, should give you great courage in your testifying to the salvation of Christ. Paul, bound in chains as a criminal, reminds us to "remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead." He doesn't say "remember me after I'm gone" or plead for some great mercy to come his way. No, it is Jesus Christ and the unchained gospel that is his greatest desire.
Consider the encouragement that Paul gives to the church in Philippians 1:12-14, "I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ. And most of the brothers, having become confident in the Lord by my imprisonment, are much more bold to speak the word without fear."
He saw his chains as merely the means of advancing the gospel, so that it was known throughout the entire imperial guard (the praetorium) that Paul was there for the sake of Christ. I could imagine that every soldier to whom the apostle was chained heard a constant plea to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for their salvation.
So, beloved, do you see your own suffering as the means by which God can use you to advance the gospel of Christ? Do not let the word of God be bound up in your heart so that you hold it back for fear that you might suffer. Let me encourage you to this: when God presents to you an opportunity, be faithful to share.
In His Grace,
From the Mountains to the Sea
Every step we take on this journey called life ought to be used for greater understanding. I've lived from the mountains to the sea, and this blog is my personal thoughts and observations with a desire for Biblical understanding. Welcome.