2 Timothy 1:8-10 ESV
“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”
Are You Ashamed?
We as followers of Jesus Christ are not to be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, which is the gospel. And to be ashamed is to be embarrassed, reluctant, uncomfortable, disgraced, or humiliated by its truths, by its message. Now we are speaking here of the true gospel that Jesus taught and that his New Testament apostles taught, not this man-made watered down gospel that is spreading rapidly today.
And our behaviors, our attitudes, our words, and our responses to its truths all give evidence of whether or not we are true believers in Jesus, or if we are truly ashamed of the gospel of Christ. For the truth of the gospel is that Jesus died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, and that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life for us on that cross. And because he bought us back for God (redeemed us) with his blood, we are to honor Jesus with our lives.
[I Peter 2:24; 2 Corinthians 5:15,21; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20]
And Jesus said that if anyone would come after him, he must deny self, take up his cross daily (daily die to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. For if we hold on to our old lives of living in sin and for self we will lose them for eternity. But if for the sake of the name of Jesus we are crucified with him in death to sin and raised with him to walk in newness of life in him, in obedience to his commands, then we have the hope of eternal life with God (Luke 9:23-26; cf. Romans 6:1-23; Ephesians 4:17-24; Romans 8:1-14).
So, if we are ashamed of the testimony of Jesus Christ (his gospel), then we won’t deny self, we won’t daily die to sin and to self, and we won’t follow the Lord Jesus in obedience to his ways. And so we will definitely not be sharing the truth of the true gospel with others, either. And sadly it appears that, in America, this is where most professers of faith in Jesus Christ have landed. For many of them have bought into the diluted version of the gospel.
And we are not to be embarrassed by other believers in Jesus who are taking the truth of the gospel to heart, and who are putting it into daily practice in their lives, and so they are being persecuted and rejected and cast aside because they don’t fit with the modern market-driven church concept of what a Christian should look like. For many of them are leading people to be more like the world to be acceptable to the people of the world.
But we are to share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, which means then that we are also taking the truth of the gospel to heart and we are applying its truths to our daily lives, in the power of God. And so we are being rejected, even by others who claim to believe in Jesus, and even by pastors of church congregations who have become more like the world and so they are ashamed of the truth of the gospel, and of us, its servants.
Saved by Grace, Through Faith
But Jesus Christ did not save us from our sins merely so we could go to heaven when we die. He saved us and called us to a holy calling. And to be holy is to be separate (unlike, different) from the world because we are now being conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ. For, by the grace of God, we are to take on the character of Christ and to live godly, holy, upright, honest, morally pure, faithful and self-controlled lives to the glory of God.
Now, Jesus didn’t save us because of our own fleshly works. We can do nothing in our flesh to earn or to deserve our own salvation. Our good deeds will never outweigh our bad deeds. It is only by the grace of God that any of us are saved from our sins and given the hope of eternal life with God. But we are saved by grace, through faith, which is not of our own doing, but which is a gift to us of God (Ephesians 2:8-10).
And this faith which is required for our salvation is authored and perfected by Jesus Christ, so it is going to take on his godly character. And it is gifted to us by God, and it is not of our own doing. So, we can’t make up in our own minds what that faith should look like. And it means to be persuaded by God, and God persuades us as to his holiness and righteousness, and of our sinfulness, and of our need to repent of (turn from) our sins to follow Jesus in obedience to his ways (Hebrews 12:1-2; Ephesians 2:8-10; John 6:44).
But just because we are not saved by our own fleshly works does not mean our salvation is absent of works. And this is why we need to read Ephesians 2:10 along with verses 8-9. For it says, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” And in Titus 2:14 we read that Jesus Christ “gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.”
And just know this. The Scriptures teach, that as followers of Jesus, we must now walk (in conduct, in practice) according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh. And we are to die with Christ to sin daily and walk daily in obedience to his commands (New Covenant). For if we continue in deliberate and habitual sin, making sin our practice, and righteousness and obedience to our Lord are not our practice, we will not inherit eternal life with God. So, please take this to heart.
[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
Jesus, Lead Me
An Original Work / July 22, 2011
Jesus, lead me all the way.
Be my hope and be my stay.
Gently lead me where I should go,
So Your Spirit, I want to know.
Open up my heart to You.
Fill me with Your love and truth.
Make my heart want to obey.
Be my Lord today. Gently lead always.
Jesus, lover of my soul,
Cleanse my heart, and make me whole;
Be transformed in my heart today,
As I turn from my sin and pray.
Make Your will known to my heart.
May I not from You depart.
How I long to hear You now,
As I humbly bow. Jesus, hear me now.