Charles Simeon Commentary - 2 Timothy 1:10 - 1:10

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Charles Simeon Commentary - 2 Timothy 1:10 - 1:10

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2Ti_1:10. Who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel.

TO the free and sovereign grace of God must all our blessings be traced. Nothing did we ever merit at his hands, or can we ever merit, but wrath and indignation. From all eternity did God ordain to give us whatever he has bestowed. The gift of a Saviour was the fruit of his eternal love; as was also the gift of salvation by him. Both the one and the other are the fruit of his eternal counsels: and the appearing of Jesus Christ, as the author of these blessings, was, not the cause, but the result and evidence, of purposes already formed, even of “purposes which from all eternity he had purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord [Note: ver. 9, 10.].”

But, not to insist on this, I would call your attention simply to the fruits of God’s purpose; and shew you what, in consequence of his eternal counsels, the Lord Jesus Christ has done for us. I will shew,

I.       What he has done for us in his own person—

Death had been introduced by sin; and it reigned over the whole human race [Note: Rom_5:12; Rom_5:17. 1Co_15:22.]. In the curse denounced against transgression, “In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die,” both the body and the soul were alike consigned to death. But from this curse the Lord Jesus Christ has delivered us. “He has abolished death,”

1.       From the soul—

[The soul, by reason of transgression, was despoiled of all spiritual life, and was doomed to everlasting death. But the Lord Jesus Christ, by “becoming a curse for us [Note: Gal_3:13.],” has so cancelled our guilt, that “there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus [Note: Rom_8:1.].” His death has been a sufficient “propitiation for the sins of the whole world [Note: 1Jn_2:2.]” — — — and “all who believe in him are justified from all things [Note: Act_13:39.]” — — —

By his Holy Spirit, too, the same Divine Saviour removes spiritual death from our souls. He infuses into us a principle of life, whereby we are enabled to live unto our God in righteousness and true holiness. Previous to the implantation of this principle in our souls, we have no more activity in spiritual exercises than a dead body has of sense and motion. But, when raised by him, every sense receives a spiritual power and direction. We see, and hear, and taste, and feel, and savour the things of the Spirit — — — and “walk from thenceforth in newness of life” — — —]

2.       From the body—

[True it is, that “the body is still subjected to death [Note: Rom_8:10.];” as it is said, “It is appointed unto men once to die [Note: Heb_9:27.].” But to those who believe in Christ, the nature and character of death are changed. It is not so properly death as sleep: “Our friend Lazarus sleepeth [Note: Joh_11:11-13.].” “Stephen,” in martyrdom, “fell asleep [Note: Act_7:60.].” And all the saints, instead of dying, merely fall “asleep in Jesus [Note: 1Th_4:14.].” Hence we find the saints triumphing over it as a vanquished enemy [Note: 1Co_15:55-57.];” yea, and numbering it amongst their richest treasures: “All things are yours, whether life or death [Note: 1Co_3:22.].”

But, allowing it a short and momentary triumph, it will at last be totally “abolished.” For in the last day, all that are in the graves shall come forth, every one possessing his own proper body: for “what has been sown in corruption and weakness and dishonour, shall be raised in incorruption and power and glory;” and “this mortal shall put on immortality [Note: 1Co_15:42-43; 1Co_15:52-53.].” We see in our Lord Jesus Christ both a pattern and a pledge of our own resurrection: for “our vile bodies shall be fashioned like unto his glorious body [Note: Php_3:21.],” and be partakers with the soul in all the glory and felicity of heaven — — —]

But let us further view,

II.      What he has done for us through the instrumentality of his word—

“He has brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel.”

These were not known to the heathen world. As for the resurrection of the body, it was derided by them, as a vain and foolish imagination: “What will this babbler say?” And, though some of the wiser philosophers entertained some faint conceptions about the immortality of the soul, it was in their minds a matter of surmise or of opinion only, and not of knowledge: it was never a fixed and operative principle in the minds of any, except the Jews; and even in their minds its operation was but very rare and partial. But the Lord Jesus Christ “brought life and immortality to light,”

1.       As a matter of undoubted certainty—

[Through the whole of his ministry, he inculcated as of primary and indispensable importance, a regard to eternal life, both of body and soul [Note: Mar_9:43-48. Mat_10:28.] — — —]

2.       As the portion and inheritance of all his people—

[Though he declared that an eternal state awaited all, he made a broad distinction between his believing people and others. To the impenitent and unbelieving it would be a state of inconceivable misery; but to the obedient, a state of inconceivable and endless bliss: “The hour is coming,” says he, “in the which all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of man, and shall come forth, they that have done good, unto a resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, to a resurrection of damnation [Note: Joh_5:28-29.].” Indeed, he sets before us the whole process of the day of judgment, and the doom that shall be assigned to all, according to their respective characters; “the wicked going away into everlasting punishment, and the righteous into life eternal [Note: Mat_25:31-46.].”]

3.       As equally deserving the attention of every child of man—

[How merciful is the warning which he has given to all to “enter in at the strait gate, and to walk in the narrow way [Note: Mat_7:13-14.]!” Surely the thought of an eternal existence, either in happiness or misery, should operate upon all; and, if duly contemplated, it will operate on all, to deter them from evil, and to stimulate them in the path of duty. It is impossible for one who cordially embraces this sentiment not to set himself in earnest to secure the happiness provided for him in the Gospel.]

See then, brethren,

1.       How highly you are privileged above the heathen—

[There is not a child amongst us, that is not wiser in this respect than all the philosophers of Greece and Rome — — — But what if we do not improve our knowledge? Shall not the heathen rise up in judgment against us, and condemn us? Yes, verily: “the people of Tyre and Sidon, yea, of Sodom and Gomorrha, will find it more tolerable for them in the day of judgment than we,” if we do not avail ourselves of the light afforded us, to “flee from the wrath to come, and to lay hold on eternal life.”]

2.       What obligations we owe to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ—

[To Him we owe both the light that has discovered these things, and the salvation that renders this discovery so delightful. To what purpose would the eternity of rewards and punishments be made known to us, if a way to avoid the one, and obtain the other, had not been revealed? It would have only been to “torment us before our time.” In truth, there are none more miserable than they, who, being assured of the immortality of the soul, are ignorant of the way in which they may obtain acceptance with God. Glad would they be, if there were no future judgment. Glad would they be, if, when the time of their departure from the body arrives, they could be annihilated altogether. What is it that makes the very mention of death so painful to the generality of men? It is the dread of an hereafter, which offers to their view no prospect but of “wrath and fiery indignation to consume them.” But to you who believe in Christ, and look to him for the remission of your sins, all this gloom has passed away, and “glory and honour and immortality” present themselves to your view as your assured portion! O! bless that adorable Saviour, who by his own death has abolished death, and by his own ascension to glory has shewn to your the felicity that awaits you. Only hold fast your confidence firm unto the end, and his crown shall be your crown, his kingdom your kingdom, his glory your glory, for ever and ever.]