(Vs. 12) This is why I am suffering as I do. Hated, beaten, imprisoned, and called a mad-man, Paul preached the GOSPEL OF CHRIST; and he preached it TO THE GENTILES as well as to the Jews! The Gentiles were stirred up against him for introducing a new religion among them to the destruction of their idolatry. The Jews were angry because he preached salvation, righteousness, and resurrection in Christ, making vain their ceremonies, self-righteousness, and traditions. "NEVERTHELESS I AM NOT ASHAMED."
Here is a definition of the faith that saves KNOWLEDGE, CONFIDENCE, and COMMITTAL!
1. "I KNOW WHOM I HAVE BELIEVED." A spiritual knowledge of Christ is neccessary to faith in Him (Rom. 10:13-14). Those who know Christ (who He is, what He did, why He did it, where He is now) believe in Him; and the more they know Him, the more strongly do they believe.
2. "I AM PERSUADED HE IS ABLE." Confidence in the Saviour's willingness to save and power to save is necessary to faith (Rom. 4:20-21; Heb. 7:25; Jude 24).
3. "I HAVE COMMITTED UNTO HIM." Where there has been no genuine and complete committal of all things to Christ, there is no true saving faith. One cannot separate faith and conduct. Committal to Christ involves our trusting Him, casting ourselves upon Him, and leaving ourselves totally in His hands to save, sanctify, and glorify (I Cor. 1:30).
(Vs. 13) Paul knew how ready men are to depart from pure doctrine and the gospel of God's glory and grace, so he exhorts Timothy to hold fast both in head and heart to the wholesome words and truth of the Lord Jesus Christ. The word "form" is the "pattern" set by Paul and the other apostles. Preach the unsearchable riches of Christ (imputed righteousness, repentance toward God, and faith in Christ) as you have heard me preach it (Acts 20:20; Rom. 8:29-34).
Hold the truth of Christ "IN FAITH AND LOVE." These are the marks of sound doctrine, and he places them both in Christ. In the exercise of faith from a principle of love, these two graces always go together and have Christ as their object. No man can persevere in sound doctrine unless he is endued with true faith and genuine love.
(Vs. 14) Guard and keep with the greatest care the precious and excellent gospel (which has been entrusted to you) by the help of the Holy Spirit Who dwells in you (I Tim. 1:11; 6:20). The gospel is a treasure indeed. It contains the riches of grace, the unsearchable riches of Christ, and is a trust requiring faithfulness in those who are stewards of it, who shall give an account of their stewardship (I Peter 4:10; Heb. 13:17). It must be kept pure and free from traditions and mixtures of men. Whereas the apostle knew that neither Timothy nor any other man is sufficient for these things, he directs the keeping of it to the power and leadership of the Holy Spirit Who dwells in all believers.
(Vs. 15) Timothy, being at Ephesus, which was in Asia, was well aware of the apostasy and departure from the gospel in that area (II Tim. 4:11). We are grieved by apostasy, but not discouraged; rather, seeing so many depart from the faith, we are more determined to hold fast the gospel of substitution and keep the treasure committed to us. Evidently Phygellus and Hermogenes were ministers of the word who had shone for a while but erred from the faith and deceived the people.
(Vs. 16-17) The apostle prays for his friend, Onesiphorus, and for his household. I believe that we can infer that the blessings of the Lord rest not only on a devoted servant of Christ, but also on his household. The love of Christ for a faithful believer is so great that it diffuses itself over all who are connected with him. Onesiphorus was not ashamed of Paul's chains and sufferings for Christ. He not only identified himself with the afflicted apostle, but visited him and supplied him with the necessities of life, such as food, clothing, and money.(Vs. 18) "MERCY OF THE LORD IN THAT DAY." Too many are interested in a return on their works of charity and their investments RIGHT NOW, in this life. This prayer deals with the REAL BLESSINGS of God toward true believers the MERCY of the Lord IN THAT DAY. How much richer a reward awaits those who, without the expectation of earthly reward from the hand of men, are kind to the people of God, constrained only by the love of Christ! Nothing can compare with the mercy of the Lord in that day (Rom. 8:16-18).