Good Evening Dear Saints,
I hope and pray you are having a good week! This week while studying for the sermon, I was reading through 2 Timothy. 2 Timothy was the last letter that Paul wrote before he was killed for the sake of Christ. It is a poignant, personal, and touching letter that Paul wrote as he was nearing the end of his life.
I find it interesting that close to the end of the letter, Paul wrote these words:
“So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom.” (2 Tim 4:17-18)
Now, vs. 17 is referring to Paul’s first audience before Caesar when he was virtually alone in his audience. The fact that he was “rescued” means that he was not immediately executed (despite the fact all his friends deserted him). Praise the Lord! Paul also had confidence that the Lord would rescue him and bring him safely to the heavenly kingdom. Yet… this was shortly before he was put to death. So was Paul wrong? Of course not. Paul actually predicted this only a few verses earlier (2 Tim 4:6-7). What it means is this: Paul knew a road of suffering lay ahead of him. Paul had already lost a great deal, but he was about to lose a lot more. Church tradition tells us that he would be beheaded shortly after this.
Here’s what Paul means: no matter what happens to me, no matter who comes knocking, no matter what hurts I suffer, no matter if heaven caves in or earth falls away-I will be safe. Why? Because, in the words of Heidelberg #1, “I am not my own.” He says, in effect, though this body should waste away, this mouth cease to speak, this heart cease to beat, I belong to another, and he will not forsake me.
Paul was utterly convinced that Christ was crucified, risen, and ascended in heaven, reigning as the great Son of Man. His kingdom is already penetrating the darkness, and the darkness will not overcome it. He will bring Paul safely home.
Christian, if you are like me, there are likely any given number of stressors, problems, worries, anxieties, concerns on any given day. Potentially, there is something looming ahead, seen or unseen, which will threaten to undo us. When you get that phone call, when you fall to your knees, when everything else is falling apart, know this: you are not your own. You were bought with a price. You belong to another. He will bring you safely home.
May that be our hope today,
In Christ’s Love,