Charles Simeon Commentary - 2 Timothy 1:12 - 1:12

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Charles Simeon Commentary - 2 Timothy 1:12 - 1:12

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2Ti_1:12. 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.

MAN is born to trouble: and it is of the greatest importance to him that he should know where to turn his eyes in the day of adversity. The Gospel directs us to a reconciled God in Christ Jesus, who has engaged to be our support and comfort under every distress. The Christian has many trials peculiar to himself: but the Gospel is fully adequate to his necessities. Its power to support him may be seen in the passage before us. St. Paul is exhorting Timothy to steadfastness in the cause of Christ [Note: ver. 8.]: and, for his encouragement, he tells him what was the ground of his own consolations under the heavy afflictions which he was now enduring for the sake of Christ. He tells him, that, notwithstanding he was immured in a dungeon, and in daily expectation of a violent and cruel death, he was neither “ashamed” nor afraid: for that he had a firm persuasion of God’s ability to keep him; and that persuasion afforded him ample support.

To illustrate the text, we may observe,

I.       The Christian commits his soul to God—

The Apostle doubtless committed unto God the concerns of the Church: but it is rather of his soul that he is speaking in the words before us, because it was that which alone could be in danger at the day of judgment. In like manner,

Every Christian commits his soul to God—

[We know what it is to commit a large sum of money to the care of a banker: and from thence we may attain a just notion of the Christian’s conduct. He has a soul which is of more value than the whole world: and he feels great anxiety that it should be preserved safely “against that day,” when God shall judge the world. But to whom shall he entrust it? He knows of none but God that can keep it; and therefore he goes to God, and solemnly commits it into his hands, entreating him to order all its concerns, and, in whatever way he shall see best, to fit it for glory.]

To this he is prompted by manifold considerations—

[He reflects on the fall of man in Paradise, and says, ‘Did Adam, when perfect, and possessed of all that he could wish, become a prey to the tempter, when the happiness of all his posterity, as well as his own, depended on his steadfastness; and can such a corrupt creature as I, surrounded as I am by innumerable temptations, hope to maintain my ground against my great adversary? O my God, let me not be for one moment left to myself; but take thou the charge of me; and let “my life be hid with Christ in God:” then, and then only, can I hope, that at the last coming of my Lord I shall appear with him in glory [Note: Col_3:3-4.].’

He bears in mind also his own weakness and ignorance. He is conscious that “he has not in himself a sufficiency even to think a good thought;” and that “it is not in him to direct his way aright.” Hence he desires to avail himself of the wisdom and power of God; and cries, “Lead me in the right way, because of mine enemies:” “Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe.”

But more especially he considers the gracious commands of God. God has not only permitted, but enjoined, this surrender of our souls to him [Note: 1Pe_4:19 and Isa_26:20.]. O what a privilege does the Christian account it to obey this divine injunction! How thankful is he that God will condescend to accept this deposit, and to take care of this charge! Hence he avails himself of this privilege, and says, “Hide me under the shadow of thy wings!” “O save me for thy mercy’s sake!”]

Whilst he acts in this manner,

II.      He is persuaded of God’s ability to keep him—

He does not merely presume upon God’s sufficiency: he is well persuaded of it,

1.       From the report of others—

[He is informed by the inspired writers, that God created the world out of nothing; and that he upholds and orders every thing in it; insomuch that not a sparrow falls to the ground without his express permission. Hence then he argues; ‘Did God create my soul, and can he not uphold it? Did he form my enemies also, and can he not restrain them [Note: See this argument suggested by God himself, Isa_54:15-17. q. d. “Your enemies are forming weapons; but I formed them; and whatever skill they exercise, I will defeat their attempts.”]? Has he numbered even the hairs of my head, and will he overlook the concerns of my soul?’

He is told that God is ever seeking opportunities, not only to exert, but also to magnify, his power in his peoples cause [Note: 2Ch_16:9. This is meant by “shewing himself strong.”]. Shall all that vigilance, then, be exercised in vain? or shall any be able to prevail against him?

He is assured also that God never yet lost one whom he had undertaken to keep: he never suffered “one of his little ones to perish [Note: Mat_18:14.]. “None was ever plucked out of his hand [Note: Joh_10:28-29.]:” not the “smallest grain of wheat, however agitated in the sieve, was ever permitted to fall upon the earth [Note: Amo_9:9.].” “The gates of hell have never been able to prevail against his Church.” Then, says the Christian, “I will trust, and not be afraid.” My Saviour, in the days of his flesh, “lost none that had been given him [Note: Joh_18:9.]:” “Whom he loved, he loved to the end [Note: Joh_13:1.];” and therefore I am persuaded he will perfect that which concerneth me [Note: Psa_138:8.], and “complete in me the good work he has begun [Note: Php_1:6.].”]

2.       From his own experience—

[The Christian well remembers what he was by nature; and knows by daily experience what he should yet be, if Omnipotence were not exerted in his support. And hence he argues thus; ‘Has God created me anew, and by an invisible, but almighty, influence turned the tide of my affections, so that they now flow upward to the fountain from whence they sprang; and can he not keep me from going back? Has he kept me for many years, like the burning bush, encompassed, as it were, with the flame of my corruptions, yet not consumed by it; and “can any thing be too hard for him?” ’ — — —

These arguments are indeed of no weight for the conviction of others; but to the Christian himself they are a source of the strongest conviction, and of the richest consolation: yea, from these, more than from any others, lie is enabled to say, “I know whom I have believed.”]


III.     This persuasion is a strong support to him under all his trials—

Many are the difficulties of the Christian’s warfare: but a persuasion of God’s ability to keep him,

1.       Encourages him to duty—

[The path of duty is sometimes exceeding difficult: and too many have fainted in it, or been diverted from it. But we may see in the Hebrew Youths what a persuasion of God’s power will effect. They braved the furnace itself, from the consideration that God could deliver them from it, or support them in the midst of it [Note: Dan_3:17-18.]. And thus will every Christian “encourage himself in God,” and “be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might.”]

2.       Strengthens him for conflict—

[Under temptations of Satan, or the hidings of God’s face, the most exalted Christian would sink, if he were not supported by this hope: “I had fainted,” says David, “unless I had believed verily to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” But the thought that the grace of Christ is sufficient for him, will turn all his sorrows into joy [Note: 2Co_12:9 and Rom_7:24.]: he will chide his dejected spirit [Note: Psa_42:11.], and return again to the charge, knowing that at last “he shall be more than conqueror through Him that loved him [Note: Rom_8:37.].”]

3.       Enables him to endure sufferings—

[Many and great were the sufferings of St. Paul; yet says he, “None of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself.” Thus every Christian must “go through much tribulation in the way to the kingdom:” but he learns, not only to bear, but to “glory in tribulation,” because it gives him a more enlarged experience of God’s power and grace, and thereby confirms his hope, which shall never make him ashamed [Note: Rom_5:3-5.].]

4.       Assures him of final victory—

[Those who have not just views of God are left in painful suspense: but they who know whom they have believed, are as much assured of victory, as if all their enemies were lying dead at their feet [Note: Compare Isa_50:7-9. with Rom_8:33-39.].]

We shall further improve the subject,

1.       For conviction—

[All persons are ready to think that they are possessed of true and saving faith. But faith is not a mere assent to the truths of the Gospel, or even an approbation of them. It includes three things; a committing of the soul to Christ; a persuasion of his ability to save us; and a determination to go forward in dependence upon him, doing and suffering whatever we are called to in the path of duty.

Have we this faith? — — —]

2.       For consolation— [Note: If this were the subject of a Funeral Sermon, the excellencies of the deceased might here be enumerated, and the survivors be comforted by the consideration that their Keeper lives for ever.] [If there be any amongst us weak and dejected, let them turn their eyes to God as their Almighty Friend. Let them know that “He is able to make them stand [Note: Rom_14:4.]:” he is “able to make all grace abound towards them, that they, having always all-sufficiency in all things, may abound unto every good work [Note: 2Co_9:8.].” It is God himself who suggests to the fainting soul these very considerations; and he requires nothing, but that we wait on him in order that we may experience their truth and efficacy [Note: Isa_40:27-31.] — — —

“Now unto Him that is able to keep us from falling, and to present us faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen [Note: Jude, ver. 24, 25.].”]