Charles Simeon Commentary - 2 Timothy 2:19 - 2:19

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Charles Simeon Commentary - 2 Timothy 2:19 - 2:19

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2Ti_2:19. The foundation of God standeth sure, having this teal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ, depart from iniquity.

GOD has a people whom he will preserve from apostasy: but he will keep them by the instrumentality of their own care and watchfulness. There were some in the apostolic age seduced from the faith, and led to think that the resurrection was passed already. But St. Paul entertained no fears for the ark of God. He was persuaded that God would keep his faithful people: “they overthrew the faith of some: nevertheless,” &c.

I.       What is meant by the foundation of God—

It does not seem to refer to the doctrine of the resurrection. The context indeed mentions this doctrine; but the immediate connexion of the text is with the apostasy that had prevailed. The “foundation” relates rather to the covenant of grace. In some respects Christ is the only foundation [Note: 1Co_3:11.]. Nevertheless the covenant of grace may be represented in this light—

It is the foundation of God’s dealings towards us

[From a regard to it he bears with us in our unconverted state [Note: Eze_36:21-23; Eze_36:32.]: from a regard to it he effects our conversion [Note: 2Ti_1:9. Jer_31:3.]: from a regard to it he endures our backslidings after conversion [Note: 1Sa_12:22.]: from a regard to it he restores us after we have fallen [Note: Luk_22:32.].]

It is also the foundation of our hope towards God

[We have no claim upon God independent of the covenant; but in his covenant with Christ, and with us in him, he has engaged to give us all that we want [Note: 1Co_3:22-23.]. We receive spiritual blessings, only as being parties in it [Note: Rom_8:29-30.]; the continuance of those blessings to us is only in consequence of our interest in it [Note: Rom_9:16.].]

This foundation standeth sure.

II.      Wherein its stability consists—

The foundation of God is represented as having a seal [Note: There is no confusion of metaphor here, because foundation stones often have ó ö ñ á ã ä á , an inscription (as the word means, Rev_9:4.) But there is peculiar propriety in the metaphor of a seal as applied to a covenant.]. This seal is God’s unchanging love; “God knoweth them,” &c.

[Knowledge is here, as in many other places, put for love [Note: Psa_1:6.]: in this sense it is represented as a seal of the covenant. Love is stamped, as it were, on every part of the covenant, gives a kind of validity to it, and is inseparable from it.]

This unchanging love is the stability of the covenant—

[We should continually forfeit our interest in it: no believer whatever, if left to himself, would be steadfast in it. Our daily transgressions are sufficient to exclude us from it for ever; but God’s love changeth not [Note: Jam_1:17. Rom_11:29.]. He betroths us to himself in faithfulness for ever [Note: Hos_2:19.]”. He loves and keeps us, not for our sake, but for his own name’s sake [Note: Deu_7:6-8.]: hence all our security arises [Note: St. Paul considers the steadfastness of the foundation as connected with, and depending on, God’s immutable regard for his people; and to this is their final salvation to be ascribed, Mal_3:6.].]

The covenant, however, does not make void our obligations to holiness,

III.     The improvement we should make of it—

The privileges of Christians are exceeding great: but we are in danger of turning the grace of God into licentiousness. Hence the Apostle cautions us against abusing this covenant [Note: If ê á were translated “but” the sense would be incomparably more clear: it has this sense in many places; and is so translated, 2Ti_3:11 and 1Co_16:12.]—

[They “who name the name of Christ” are those who profess Christ’s religion; and that profession supposes them to be interested in the covenant. But continuance in sin would be inconsistent with that profession: the covenant prohibits the indulgence even of the smallest sin. It provides strength for the mortification of every lust; it secures holiness to us as well as salvation; it engages for our salvation only in a way of holiness. Let it not then be made a ground of presumptuous security: let it rather operate as an incentive to diligence; let it incline “every one” to stand at the greatest distance from sin [Note: ð ï ó ô Þ ô ù ð .].]


What rich consolation is here for every true believer!

[There ever have been some apostates from the Church of Christ; but their defection does not disprove the stability of God’s covenant. The reason of their departure is accounted for by St. John [Note: 1Jn_2:19.]— Let not then any be dejected when they see the falls of others. God “knows his sheep, and will suffer “none to pluck them out of his hands.” Nor need any despond on account of their indwelling corruptions: it is not sin lamented, but sin indulged, that will destroy the soul. Let every one be more anxious to lay hold on this covenant: it will be found at last, that it is “ordered m all things and sure.”]