From the confines of a small, dark, damp prison cell in the heart of Rome, Paul penned the words of what is likely his last letter before his death. Considering the context, Paul’s letter is a beautiful testimony to God’s provision as well as a glorious challenge to its readers.
Paul invested time, effort, energy, lessons, encouragement, example, teaching and suffering into his young protégé, Timothy. Paul wrote to Timothy to secure the young pastor’s confidence in God’s Word and to emphasize the blessing and the burden of the entrusted gospel.
The gospel is a glorious burden. We have it – not to hoard – but to share. The gospel is an unimaginable blessing – life, hope, peace, eternity and privilege. The gospel provides us confidence in our spiritual lives.
Following are just a few of the reasons we can have confidence in God and His gospel drawn from the text:
- Because the gospel is shared relationally (Timothy’s grandmother, mother and Paul), our confidence grows from interdependence not self-sufficiency.
- Because God gifts us and empowers us, our confidence develops from God, not ourselves.
- Because God strengthens in suffering, our confidence does not have to be shattered by our circumstances.
- Because the gospel comes by grace, our confidence does not rest in our own works or own level of righteousness.
- Because we have the Holy Spirit, our confidence comes directly from God.
Essentially, Paul reminds young Timothy of the difficult times, worries, insecurities and challenges that are sure to come. Yet those hindrances pale in comparison to the promises and hope we have in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
So, when you are tempted to be uncertain or fearful, don’t look inward (at your own imperfections) or outward (at the difficulty of the circumstances) but rather look upward (at the God of the gospel) who grants us confidence.