Confidence in the Midst of Consequences

by Wayne Barber

We have been talking about being ashamed of the gospel of Christ. We have seen that Paul had suffered great consequences for his preaching of Christ but in no way was he ashamed. Now let's look at his confidence in the midst of these consequences.

Paul's confidence is not based on man-generated faith, but on Christ: "…I know whom I have believed…." (2 Tim. 1:12). The word for "know" is eído. It comes from a form of the word horáo. It means to know, to perceive. He knows something! He divinely understands something. The verb is in the perfect active tense, so his knowledge is because of something that has happened to Paul in the past. He has this clear perception.

What perception? "…For I know whom I have believed…." Again, the perfect tense. Pisteúo, "believe," means to be so fully persuaded that one surrenders completely. Paul has many times in his past fully surrendered to Christ in any and all situations and Christ has never let him down. Paul's confidence is solidly based on his knowledge and experience of Christ.

But, in this verse we also see the conviction of Paul.

Verse 12 is like a tapestry, with each thought building on the others: "For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day." Some translations say "I am persuaded." The Greek word for "convinced," or "persuaded" is peítho, which appears also in v. 5 ("persuaded" or "I am sure"); and also in Romans 8:38: "For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers…."

Having trusted Him over and over and over, Paul is now utterly convinced that "He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day." The phrase "He is able" is important. The word for "able" is dunatós. He has the strength, He has the ability. "to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day."

The word "guard," or "keep," is phulásso. It projects the idea of someone guarding something that is very valuable. It is used in Paul's admonition to "guard (keep), through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you" (v. 14); (see also Jude 1:24, where it is used of "Him who is able to keep you from stumbling…." Paul says, I know that whatever is being watched over will be kept perfectly.

What is being guarded for Paul? Certainly his eternal life (see v. 4:7). But also His ministry! (See Rom. 15:15,16: God had assigned the ministry of the Gentiles to him, and Paul wanted to make certain that when it was presented that it would be set apart and acceptable in God's sight.) Paul could trust God to guard these precious things.

How long could Paul trust Him to guard what he had committed? "Until that day!" What day? I believe that it is the day of Christ-the day when all believers stand before Christ to have their work judged. The day when we will be glorified.