The Promise of Union Life

The Promise of Union Life With Jesus

Daily Reading: (2 Timothy 2:13):

“If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.”

What this is saying right off the bat is that even if we sin or when we sin, Christ isn’t going to disown you, how could He? Because Christ lives in us, He is always with us and He cannot disown Himself. This verse is indirectly speaking of union life with Christ. Paul in 2 Corinthians 13:5, asks the Corinthian believers a question: “Or do you not realize about yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you?” Maybe a better starting point is to realize Christ lives in you. He is always with you, He will never leave you or forsake you and since He remains faithful, even when we mess up, Christ will never disown you for He cannot disown Himself.

The book of 2 Timothy has a lot of great verses in it. There is a website called that has ranked verses by how popular they are. 2 Timothy 3:16 ranks 9th on the list, 2 Timothy 2:15 ranks 45th. Already two verses in the top 50 in the book of 2 Timothy alone. One of my favorites, “For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” checks in at number 429. There are many verses in 2 Timothy that are ranked as some of people’s most favorite verses. Where does our 2 Timothy 2:13 verse rank on people’s all-time favorite Scripture verse list? 2 Timothy 2:13 is the 16,811 most popular verse. What that tells me is people don’t understand what is being said here. If we knew what this verse meant it might become your favorite verse from 2 Timothy. There is a verse, 2 Timothy 4:12 that says: “I sent Tychicus to Ephesus.” That’s all it said and that is ranked 9,552. It ranked over 7,000 spots ahead of our verse. People don’t like the verse I quoted because it is attached to a portion that absolutely frightens people because they have been misled in what is being said. Today, that all changes.

I believe one reason why 2 Timothy 2:13 is often overlooked is because it completely dismantles a works-based system of my own faithfulness. The spotlight is entirely where it should be and that is on Jesus Christ and His accomplished work for us that whatever the promise God has made, Promises of God series part 2, He is faithful to deliver on it through Jesus.

In the Gospel in Twenty Questions Paul Ellis breaks down our 2 Timothy 2:13 verse and he does it masterfully as he connects it to the entire statement.

Here is a trustworthy saying: If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself” (2 Timothy 2:11–13).

The “if we endure” is satisfied with the faithful one (Jesus). Jesus who did endure, lives in us and will cause us to endure and reign now.”

Why is this verse the 16,811 most popular verse? Because people don’t understand it? This new life we have in Christ is a new kind of life characterized by supernatural endurance and reigning in all things (2 Timothy 2:11-13).

“If we disown him, he will also disown us.” Paul is not talking about Christians at all, but those who reject Christ and will one day reap the consequences of their choice (2 Timothy 2:12). There’s no grace for the faithless because the faithless will not receive it.

Do you see? There are two camps in the world. There are individuals who confess Christ as Lord and those who deny Him.

If you have denied him, you may yet confess him. This provides hope for the lost and unsaved people.

If you have confessed him, you cannot deny him. This simply means we who have died with Christ cannot un-die. We who have been born again cannot be unborn. If you were to deny him, as Peter did three times, Jesus won’t disown you, for He cannot disown himself. If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself. (2 Timothy 2:13) “Keep reminding them of these things…” (2 Timothy 2:14a)

To recap, Paul says if we die with Christ, we will live, endure, and reign with him. Each follows the other and this is a trustworthy saying.Thank you, Paul Ellis, for the amazing clarity you have brought to this passage of Scripture, making it one of my favorites and hopefully one of yours as well.

Trouble and Peace

Daily Reading: (John 14:1, 27, John 16:33):

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.”

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

What I absolutely love about this text is that the promise is not an absence of trouble and fear but peace in it.

I have found that two real enemies to peace in my life are in fact trouble and fear. Jesus instead of listing all of the potential troubling things we could experience, uses the Greek word that describes the condition troubling things can bring (to agitate, to take away calmness of mind, make restless, strike one’s spirit with fear and dread, to render anxious). Do not let your hearts take away calmness of your mind and fear.

There is no need to allow those troubling things to cause fear in your spirit, rob you of the calmness of your mind, make you restless and anxious and lead about timidity in your life.

Those troubling things are the opposite of what God has given you as He has given us the peace of Christ that’s why Paul writes to his young protégé Timothy: For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). God has given us a spirit of power (not timidity) a spirit of love- because perfect love cast out all fear, and of a sound, calm of mind.

Jesus guarantees trouble for us in this world (John 16:33). Even Jesus’ disciples thought that somehow their connection to Jesus meant an absence of trouble. This was obviously not their experience and it is not ours either. 

You will have trouble in this world, and if that is where Jesus finished his sentence I guess all we could expect would be timidity, fear, a lack of calmness of mind. But that is not the final word over your trouble. The final word over your trouble is, “But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Take heart (tharseō) – be of good cheer, be of good comfort. Because “I have overcome the world.” If we understand this Greek word for overcome then we are enabled to have courage in trouble, we are able to have the peace of Christ in all things.

(nikaō) – I carry off the victory. I have been victorious over all of your enemies.

So because of Jesus’ victory over our foes (victory over our trouble), we can have peace and we do not have to fear when the already defeated trouble comes (John 14:27, John 16:33).  

Don’t lose heart when trouble comes because Christ will carry you off in victory(John 16:33). Don’t let the calmness of your mind leave because of what is happening around you, instead, place your confidence in me (John 14:1).

At the cross the disciples thought their Messiah was being defeated. Jesus as He takes His last breath declares our victory in John 19:30 “it is finished.” God’s salvation plan, the masterpiece to redeem humanity is complete. He has overcome the world!!! “It is finished” comes from one Greek word (teleō). In the days of Jesus, a servant would use it when reporting to his master: “I have completed the work assigned to me.” Jesus said those final words to the Father. (John 17:4) The word means, “It is finished, it stands finished and it will always be finished!” Perhaps the most significant meaning of teleō is how it is used by merchants: “The debt is paid in full!” When Jesus gave Himself on the cross, He met fully the righteous demands of the law. He paid our debts in full! Today, it is not our works that will bring us the blessings, or will bring us to a settled mind, it is Christ’s finished work. It is confidence and trust in Christ alone (John 14:1, John 19:30). Our blessings are a result of Jesus defeating sin and death and granting us restoration in relationship with God as our Father- which means favor with God forever. Our blessings come by way of Christ’s finished work. It is not our works that gave us access to blessing, or that will bring us to a settled mind, it is Christ’s finished work. It is confidence and trust in Christ alone (John 14:1, John 19:30). 

Maybe you are faced with overwhelming odds today. Jesus promises, “It is finished!” You are not going to be delivered, because you have already been delivered. You are not going to be healed because you are already healed! God healed you 2,000 years ago! Isaiah 53:5 declares, “By His stripes you are healed!” Keep resting in His finished work and it will manifest itself in your life! Our blessings have been bought by His blood! Live life knowing that there is nothing for you to do—only believe! It is finished!

So, you will have trouble in this world (we can testify to that) but you don’t have to be troubled. You can have confidence in Christ finished work at the cross (John 14:1). He offers to us healing, forgiveness, His righteousness, and He has given us the Comforter as our aid, (John 14:16) who will continue to point us to Jesus and His finished work.

The Secret of Contentment

The Secret of Contentment

Daily Reading: (Philippians 4:10-13):

“I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it.I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

We will find that the “all things” Paul references he can do through Christ (Philippians 4:13), is connected to the secret of contentment he has found (Philippians 4:12).

The gift Paul received from the church could have caused a lot of different emotions ways. It was late to arrive, Paul’s feelings could have been anxious, uneasy, or upset about it.

The person bringing the gift was deathly ill, perhaps even contagious. Paul could have been afraid for Epaphroditus and worried about his own health.

The distance the gift the church was sending Paul (Philippi to Rome) was approximately 4,608 miles and so instead of having a negative emotion,the apostle of grace sees Epaphroditus through the eyes of grace and says give this guy a hero’s welcome. “So then, welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor people like him, because he almost died for the work of Christ.”

Let’s celebrate those who do a work of Christ regardless of how successful the endeavor may appear on the outside. The reason Paul does not land in the negative emotions unsatisfied camp is because Paul was never focused on the gift to begin with. Verse ten gives us this insight: “I rejoiced greatly in the Lord” Contentment is secured as you view everything made available to you in Christ which will cause your spirit to rejoice. The focus was not on the gift but the Giver. I am not meaning the church, although, there will be gratitude toward the brothers and sisters in Christ but this is what Christ has done in them. Paul was expecting Jesus to bear the fruit of generosity in their lives.  

Generosity isn’t a fruit of the Spirit- is it? “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control(Galatians 5:22-23a). I don’t see generosity listed there, but it actually is. Most translations call it “goodness,” because the root word means “good,” but, given the context, a better interpretation would be “generous,” which is the way it is worded in the New Revised Standard.

In Philippians 4 Paul says he has needs, but he is not needy because God is going to meet His needs (Philippians 4:12). The way the supply comes to us changes so it is easy for us to worry and doubt and ask God what are you doing when it is delayed or comes about another way. That is the problem that arises when we put our focus on the supply instead of the Supplier, we can move from the contentment camp to the unsatisfied one. New seasons means new supply. God’s provision is ongoing (the source doesn’t change, but the way the supply comes does).

But our God, Paul says seven verses later will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19). “He meets the needs according to” which is the Greek Word (kata) it means daily. So, it doesn’t matter if your daily need is great or it is small, you can be content, God will meet our needs every day abundantly.

What is the secret of contentment?

William Barclay says, “contentment comes from knowing God and delighting in his sovereign goodness and fatherly care.”[1] The temptation to be discontent is everywhere. Paul grew to believe with great conviction all of who Christ was in his life—his Savior, his Friend, his Provider, his Lord—and it was the essence of what he needed most. The sufficiency of Christ that Paul experienced enabled him to have a strong heart of contentment (joy, peace, and gratitude) in the best and worst of times. Because Christ lived in Him and was with Him always.

[1] William Barcley. The Secret of Contentment. P&R Publishing

Free From Condemnation

Free From Condemnation

Daily Reading: (Romans 8:1): “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Who wouldn’t want no condemnation? Every single one of us has done things and said things that we wish we would not have. Romans 8:1 is grace in a nutshell that God will not count my sins against me. I deserve to be punished for my sins. I deserve to be separated from God forever. I should be forever condemned but God gave me what I didn’t deserve when He sent Jesus to die for the penalty of my sins in my place, so that in Him I might be given His life and counted as righteous. This verse is easy to understand but yet so hard to believe when we mess up. God must be mad at me. God must have caused that shopping cart to dent my car to teach me a lesson for taking someone’s spot. I hear this all the time, “God is judging me”. “There is now no condemnation in Christ.” Your worst moments are forgiven and that is a hard thing for any of us to receive. Here is the result or the fruit of this truth: because of how greatly you have been forgiven you are now enabled to extend forgiveness to other people who don’t deserve it. I don’t know where we learned that someone has to say sorry or show remorse in order for us to forgive them. The only person you are hurting when you decide to carry an offense against you is yourself.

“For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it” (James 2:10).We all were guilty – the sentence was pronounced. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Now that we know just how guilty we were and the death sentence we faced we now see how great the love of God is toward us the criminals in order to save us and give us life. 

God’s grace that we have received by faith, gets out of the prison of sin and death at the cost of Jesus’ life. However, continuing to sin causes damaging consequences to you and people around you.

I don’t know if you have ever played the game of Monopoly before, but if you have, you would know you can receive something in the game that keeps you out of jail, a get out of jail free card. The nice thing about having the card is you don’t have to worry about rolling doubles too much or landing on the go to jail space or even receiving another card that sends you to jail, you can really enjoy going around the board and scooping up properties. If you have the get out of jail free card, it doesn’t mean you won’t do stupid stuff and make bad decisions during the game. Would you like to buy this property to make a set? No, I’m good. We can go around the boardgame of life and make some really stupid decisions and continue in sin even though we have been given the abundant life. Jesus said, “I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows]” (John 10:10b AMP). You have been given the opportunity to live the abundant life but you might choose to walk after the flesh.

One time I was playing the game of Monopoly and I was doing so bad that when I landed on community chest I received a card that said, “Go to jail, go directly to jail. Do not pass go do not collect $200.” My opponent asked if I was going to use my get out of jail free card? I told them that I would rather stay in prison, just so I didn’t have to pay them rent. That is the opposite of what abundance looks like, choosing prison over freedom. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). What this means is: “We have been set free because of what Christ has done. Through his blood our sins have been forgiven. We have been set free because God’s grace is so rich” (Ephesians 1:7).

In life although you possess eternal life, although you possess all the spiritual promises made to us in Jesus it doesn’t mean that you will choose to live in the freedom you have been given and walk in victory.

“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One” (1 John 2:1).

[The Greek aorist tense would be better translated, “so that you may not commit an act of sin,” or the equivalent.]

God’s desire for you and me is that we do not sin, but if we do, we have Jesus the Righteous One as our Advocate (1 John 2:1) which means there is no condemnation for those in Christ (Romans 8:1).

The Greek word is paraklētos one who pleads another’s cause before a judge, a pleader, counsel for defense, legal assistant, an advocate of Christ in his exaltation at God’s right hand, pleading with God the Father for the pardon of our sins.

As our advocate, He pleads for what He has done in behalf of people; that is, by the plea that His sufferings and death in behalf of sinners have done as much to honor the law, and to maintain the truth and justice of God.

Now, it does not say that if anyone repents, we have an Advocate with the Father. It says that if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father. The moment a child of God sins, straightaway, his Advocate, Jesus Christ, goes into action to pray for and protect him.

There is no need to try and atone for your own sins – you can’t. Instead look to Jesus’ atonement as sufficient. Know that Jesus ensures that what He died and suffered to give you, you get! In heaven right now, He defends and represents you to ensure that the healing, wholeness, protection and other blessings that He died to give you are enforced in your life. Have confidence in and rest in the ability of your Advocate-Jesus Christ.