2 Timothy 2:11
The apostle introduces the familiar formula, "This is a faithful saying," with its rhythmical significance and arrangement, to emphasize the importance of what is to follow.

I. FAMILIAR TRUTHS WITH A CONSOLATORY ASPECT. "If we died with him, we shall also live with him; if we endure, we shall also reign with him." There is here an expressive climax, setting forth two different aspects of the union between Christ and his people.

1. Identification with Christ in his death. All believers died with him, as their Head and Representative, and thus died to sin, through the efficacy of his death, so as to be planted together in the likeness of his death; and thus, being made conformable to his death, they have fellowship with him in his sufferings.

2. But identification with Christ in his life follows as a consequence of this identification in death, because we rose with him from the dead, to be planted in the likeness of his resurrection, that we should walk in newness of life; and thus, being made alive unto God, we live a life of holiness and sanctification with him (Romans 6:5-8).

3. Identification with Christ in endurance involves identification in his reigning glory. Believers who suffer shame and loss and outrage for Christ's sake shall reign with him in glory hereafter, as they reign in the kingdom of grace with him now; for they are "a kingdom of priests," destined foreverlasting glory (Revelation 1:6).

II. FAMILIAR TRUTHS WITH A THREATENING ASPECT. "If we deny him, he also will deny us; if we believe not, yet he abideth faithful; for he cannot deny himself."

1. The denial of Christ is fatal. It is to reject the only Saviour. Some deny his Messiahship; some deny his Divinity; some deny him by their works, being ashamed of him and refusing to confess him; some deny him by open apostasy. In all these cases the denial involves our Lord's denial of them (Matthew 7:23; Matthew 10:23).

2. Our unbelief does not affect the essential faithfulness of Christ. "If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful."

1. This does not mean that he will save us whether we believe in him or not; for he has just said that if we deny him he will also deny us, and faith is always an essential condition of salvation.

3. It means that he will abide faithful to his word of threatening, as well as to his nature and perfections; for he cannot falsify his declarations that "he that believeth not shall be condemned" (Mark 16:16). He will say to apostates in the last day, "I never knew you." It would be to deny himself to act otherwise. He cannot consistently with his character regard faith and unbelief as the same thing. Thus the apostle stimulates Timothy to fidelity by an exhibition at once of the bright and the dark sides of Divine truth. - T.C.







If we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him.
I. The first branch of this "faithful saying" is, "If we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him." There seem to be two ways chiefly in which the soul "is dead with Christ." If we look at the operation of the law as a manifestation of the justice of God, the law was the cause of the death of Christ — that is to say, the law being broken by the Church in whose place Christ stood, He, as a Substitute and a Surety, stood under its curse, and that curse was death. If, then, we are to die with Christ, we must die under the law just as Jesus died under the law, or else there is no union with Christ in His death. But further, Christ died under the weight of sin and transgression. Every living soul then that shall die with Christ spiritually and experimentally, must die too under the weight of sin — that is, he must know what it is so to experience the power and presence of sin in his carnal mind, so to feel the burden of his iniquities upon his guilty head, and to be so overcome and overpowered by inward transgression, as to be utterly helpless, and thoroughly unable to deliver himself from the dominion and rule of it in his heart. But there is another way in which the soul dies with Christ. Christ not only died under the law and died under sin, but He died unto the law, and He died unto sin. But in living with Christ, there will be, if I may use the expression, a dying life, or a living death, running parallel with all the experience of a child of God, who is brought to some acquaintance with the Lord Jesus. For instance, the apostle says, "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me."

II. But we go on to consider another branch of this vital union with Christ. "If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him." There can be no suffering with Christ, until there is a vital union with Christ; and no realisation of it, until the Holy Ghost manifests this vital union by making Christ known, and raising up faith in our hearts, whereby He is embraced and laid hold of. And there is no "reigning with Christ," except there first be a "suffering with Christ." I believe that reigning not only signifies a reigning with Him in glory hereafter, but also a measure of reigning with Him now, by His enthroning Himself in our hearts.

III. "If we deny Him, He also will deny us," that is the next branch. The words have a twofold meaning; they apply to professors, and they apply to possessors. There were those in the Church who would deny Him, for there were those who never knew Him experimentally, and when the trial came, they would act as Judas acted. And then there were those who were real followers of Him, but when put to the test might act as Peter acted.

(J. C. Philpot.)

In matters of great worth and difficulty prefaces are used: so here. Whence observe we, that —

I.AFFLICTIONS ARE NOT EASY TO BE ENDURED,

II.GOD'S WORD IS FAITHFUL.

III.CHRIST AND A CHRISTIAN ARE FELLOW-SUFFERERS.

IV.CHRIST AND A CHRISTIAN SHALL LIVE TOGETHER.

(J. Barlow, D. D.)

Christian Herald.
In the fourth century a young earnest disciple sought an interview with the great and good Macarius, and asked him what was meant by being dead to sin. He said, "You remember our brother who died and was buried a short time since. Go to his grave, and tell him all the unkind things you ever heard of him. Go, my son, and hear what he will answer." The young man doubted whether he understood; but Macarius only said, "Do as I tell you, my son; and come and tell me what he says." He went, and came back, saying, "I can get He reply; he is dead." "Go again, and try him with flattering words — tell him what a great saint he was, what noble work he did, and how we miss him; and come again and tell me what he says." He did so, but on his return said, "He answers nothing, father; he is dead and buried." "You know now, my son," said the old father, "what it is to be dead to sin, dead and buried with Christ. Praise and blame are nothing to him who is really dead and buried with Christ."

(Christian Herald.)

"Believe, my dear Pris, what I am just beginning to learn, and you knew long ago, that the death of Christ is far, very far, more than a mere peace-making, though that view of it is the root of every other. But it is actually and literally the death of you and me and the whole human race; the absolute death and extinction of all our selfishness and individuality. So St. Paul describes it in Romans 6. and in every one of his Epistles. Let us believe, then, what is the truth and no lie — that we are dead, actually, absolutely dead; and let as believe further that we are risen and that we have each a life, our only life, a life not of you nor me, but a universal life — in Him. He will live in us and quicken us with all life and all love; will make us understand the possibility, and, as I am well convinced, experience the reality, of loving God and loving our brethren."

(F. D. Maurice to his sister.)

I. SUFFERING WITH JESUS, AND ITS REWARD. To suffer is the common lot of all men. It is not possible for us to escape from it. We come into this world through the gate of suffering, and over death's door hangs the same escutcheon. If, then, a man hath sorrow, it doth not necessarily follow that he shall be rewarded for it, since it is the common lot brought upon all by sin. You may smart under the lashes of sorrow in this life, but this shall not deliver you from the wrath to come. The text implies most clearly that we must suffer with Christ in order to reign with Him.

1. We must not imagine that we are suffering for Christ, and with Christ, if we are not in Christ.

2. Supposing a man to be in Christ, yet it does not even then follow that all his sufferings are sufferings with Christ, for it is essential that he be called by God to suffer. If a good man were, out of mistaken views of mortification and self-denial, to mutilate his body, or to flog his flesh, aa many a sincere enthusiast has done, I might admire the man's fortitude, but I should not allow for an instant that he was suffering with Christ.

3. Again, in troubles which come upon us as the result of sin, we must not think we are suffering with Christ. When Miriam spoke evil of Moses, and the leprosy polluted her, she was not suffering for God. When Uzziah thrust himself into the temple, and became a leper all his days, he could not say that he was afflicted for righteousness' sake. If you speculate and lose your property, do not say that you are losing all for Christ's sake; when you unite with bubble companies and are duped, do not whine about suffering for Christ — call it the fruit of your own folly. If you will put your hand into the fire and it gets burned, why, it is the nature of fire to burn you or anybody else; but be not so silly as to boast as though you were a martyr.

4. Be it observed, moreover, that suffering such as God accepts and rewards for Christ's sake, must have God's glory as its end.

5. I must mind, too, that love to Christ, and love to His elect, is ever the main-spring of all my patience; remembering the apostle's words, "Though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing."

6. I must not forget also that I must manifest the spirit of Christ, or else I do not suffer with Him. I have heard of a certain minister who, having had a great disagreement with many members in his church, preached from this text, "And Aaron held his peace." The sermon was intended to pourtray himself as an astonishing instance of meekness; but as his previous words and actions had been quite sufficiently violent, a witty hearer observed, that the only likeness he could see between Aaron and the preacher was this, "Aaron held his peace, and the preacher did not." I shall now very briefly show what are the forms of real suffering for Jesus in these days.(1) Some suffer in their estates. I believe that to many Christians it is rather a gain than a loss, so far as pecuniary matters go, to be believers in Christ; but I meet with many cases — cases which I know to be genuine, where persons have had to suffer severely for conscience' sake.(2) More usually, however, the suffering takes the form of personal contempt.(3) Believers have also to suffer slander and falsehood.(4) Then again, if in your service for Christ you are enabled so to sacri fice yourself, that you bring upon yourself inconvenience and pain, labour and loss, then I think you are suffering with Christ.(5) Let us not forget that contention with inbred lusts, denials of proud self, resistance of sin, and agony against Satan, are all forms of suffering with Christ.(6) There is one more class of suffering which I shall mention, and that is, when friends forsake, or become foes. If you are thus called to suffer for Christ, will you quarrel with me if I say, in adding all up, what a very little it is compared with reigning with Jesus! "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." When I contrast our sufferings of to-day with those of the reign of Mary, or the persecutions of the Albigenses on the mountains, or the sufferings of Christians in Pagan Rome, why, ours are scarcely a pin's prick: and yet what is the reward? We shall reign with Christ. There is no comparison between the service and the reward. Therefore it is all of grace. We are not merely to sit with Christ, but we are to reign with Christ.

II. DENYING CHRIST, AND ITS PENALTY. "If we deny Him, He also will deny us," In what way can we deny Christ? Some deny Him openly as scoffers do, whose tongue walketh through the earth and defieth heaven. Others do this wilfully and wickedly in a doctrinal way, as the and do, who deny His deity: those who deny His atonement, who rail against the inspiration of His Word, these come under the condemnation of those who deny Christ. There is a way of denying Christ without even speaking a word, and this is the more common. In the day of blasphemy and rebuke, many hide their heads. Are there not here some who have been baptized, and who come to the Lord's table, but what is their character? Follow them home. I would to God they never had made a profession, because in their own houses they deny what in the house of God they have avowed. In musing over the very dreadful sentence which closes my text, "He also will deny us," I was led to think of various ways in which Jesus will deny us. He does this sometimes on earth. You have read, I Suppose, the death of Francis Spira. If you have ever read it, you never can forget it to your dying day. Francis Spira knew the truth; he was a reformer of no mean standing; but when brought to death, out of fear, he recanted. In a short time he fell into despair, and suffered hell upon earth. His shrieks and exclamations were so horrible that their record is almost too terrible for print. His doom was a warning to the age in which he lived. Another instance is narrated by my predecessor, Benjamin Keach, of one who, during Puritanic times, was very earnest for Puritanism; but afterwards, when times of persecution arose, forsook his profession. The scenes at his deathbed were thrilling and terrible. He declared that though he sought God, heaven was shut against him; gates of brass seemed to be in his way, he was given up to overwhelming despair. At intervals he cursed, at other intervals he prayed, and so perished without hope. If we deny Christ, we may be delivered to such a fate.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. DIFFICULT DUTIES ARE GREATLY TO BE PRESSED.

II. TO CONCEIVE THE ESTATE OF A CHRISTIAN IS TO HAVE AN EYE TO HIS LATTER END.

III. GOD'S METHOD AND THE DEVIL'S DIFFER. He begins with death, ends with life: but Satan the contrary.

IV. CHRIST IS NOT TO BE DENIED.

V. THE DENIERS OF CHRIST SHALL DE DENIED. Helps against this sin —

1. Deny thyself.

2. Never dispute with flesh and blood.

3. Look not on death as death: but on God's power, which is manifest in our weakness.

4. Consider the examples of so many martyrs.

(J. Barlow, D. D.)

"It is a faithful saying." This is a preface used by this apostle to introduce some remarkable sentence of more than ordinary weight and concernment. I shall begin with the first part of this remarkable saying: "If we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him; if we suffer, we shall also reign with Him."

1. What virtue there is in a firm belief and persuasion of a blessed immortality in another world, to support and bear up men's spirits under the greatest sufferings for righteousness' sake; and even to animate them, if God shall call them to it, to lay down their lives for their religion.

2. How it may be made out to be reasonable to embrace and voluntarily to submit to present and grievous sufferings, in hopes of future happiness and reward; concerning which we have not, nor perhaps are capable of having, the same degree of certainty and assurance which we have of the evils and sufferings of this present life. Now, granting that we have not the same degree of certainty concerning our future happiness that we have of our present sufferings, which we feel, or see just ready to come upon us; yet prudence making it necessary for men to run this hazard does justify the reasonableness of it. This I take to be a known and ruled case in the common affairs of life and in matters of temporal concernment; and men act upon this principle every day. The matter is now brought to this plain issue, that if it be reasonable to believe there is a God, and that His providence considers the actions of men; it is also reasonable to endure present sufferings, in hope of a future reward: and there is certainly enough in this case to govern and determine a prudent man that is in any good measure persuaded of another life after this, and hath any tolerable consideration of, and regard to, his eternal interest. In the virtue of this belief and persuasion, the primitive Christians were fortified against all that the malice and cruelty of the world could do against them; and they thought they made a very wise bargain, if through many tribulations they might at last enter into the kingdom of God; because they believed that the joys of heaven would abundantly recompense all their sorrows and sufferings upon earth. And so confident were they of this, that they looked upon it as a special favour and regard of God to them, to call them to suffer for His name. So St. Paul speaks of it (Philippians 1:29). If we could compare things justly, and attentively regard and consider the invisible glories of another world, as well as the things which are seen, we should easily perceive that he who suffers for God and religion does not renounce happiness; but puts it out to interest upon terms of the greatest advantage. I shall now briefly speak to the second part of this remarkable saying in the text. "If we deny Him, He also will deny us"; to which is subjoined in the words following, "if we believe not; εἰ ἀπιστοῦμεν, if we deal unfaithfully with Him; yet He abideth faithful, He cannot deny Himself"; that is, He will be constant to His word, and make good that solemn threatening which He hath denounced against those who, for fear of suffering, shall deny Him and His truth before men (Matthew 10:33). If fear will move us, then, in all reason, that which is most terrible ought to prevail most with us, and the greatest danger should be most dreaded by us, according to our Saviour's most friendly and reasonable advice (Luke 12:4, 5.)

(J. Tillotson, D. D.)

If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him
In the olden time when the gospel was preached in Persia, one Hamedatha, a courtier of the king, having embraced the faith, was stripped of all his offices, driven from the palace, and compelled to feed camels. This he did with great content. The king passing by one day, saw his former favourite at his ignoble work, cleaning out the camel's stables. Taking pity upon him he took him into his palace, clothed him with sumptuous apparel, restored him to all his former honours, and made him sit at the royal table. In the midst of the dainty feast, he asked Hamedatha to renounce his faith. The courtier, rising from the table, tore off his garments with haste, left all the dainties behind him, and said, "Didst thou think that for such silly things as these I would deny my Lord and Master?" and away he went to the stable to his ignoble work. How honourable is all this!

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Christ's true martyrs do not die, but live.

(E. Thring.)

"Henry V. on the evening of Agincourt found the chivalric David Gamin still grasping the banner which through the fight his strength had borne and his right arm defended. Often had the monarch noticed that pennon waving in the foremost van of the men of England who that day pierced, broke, and routed the proud ranks of France. The king knighted him as he lay. The hero died, but dying was ennobled!"(S. Coley.)

Let me tell you of a young soldier of His, who bore much for his Lord. We must go back to the early days of Christianity, and picture a martyr being led to death in the city of Antioch. At the place of execution is the judge surrounded by a guard of soldiers. The man about to die for his love to his heavenly King says to the judge — "Ask any little child here whether we ought to adore the many false gods whom you serve or the one living and true God, the only Saviour of men, and that child will tell you." Close by there stood a Christian mother and her boy of ten years old named Cyril. She had brought her son there to see how a true servant of God could die for his Lord. As the martyr spoke, the judge spied the lad, and asked him a question. To the surprise of all, Cyril answered — "There is but one God, and Jesus Christ is one With Him." At these words the judge was very angry. "Wretched Christian," he said, turning to the martyr, "it is thou who hast taught the boy these words." Then more gently, he said to the child — "Tell me, who taught thee this faith?" Little Cyril looked lovingly up to his mother, and answered, "The grace of God taught my mother, and she taught me." "Well, we will see what this grace of God can do for thee," cried the judge. He signed to the guards, who, according to the custom of the Romans, stood with their sheaves of rods. They came near and seized the child. Passionately the mother pleaded that she might give her life for that of her son. But none heeded her entreaties. And all that she could do was to cheer her child, reminding him of the Lord who loved him and died for him. Then cruel strokes fell upon the bare little shoulders of Cyril. In a tone of mocking, the judge said — "What good is the grace of God to him now?... It can enable him to bear the same punishment which his Saviour bore for him," answered the mother decidedly. One look from the judge to ""he soldiers, and again the cruel blows fell on the tender flesh of the boy. "What can the grace of God do for him now?" again asked the pitiless judge. Few of the spectators could hear unmoved the mother, who, with heart bleeding at the sight of her boy's sufferings, answered — "The grace of God teaches him to forgive his persecutors." The child's eyes followed the upward glance of his mother, as she raised her pleading for him in earnest prayer. And when his persecutors asked whether he would not now worship the gods they did, that young soldier answered — "No, there is no other God but the Lord, and Jesus is the Redeemer of the world. He loved me, and I love Him, because He is my Saviour." Stroke after stroke fell upon the boy, and at last he fell fainting. Then he was handed to his mother, and the question was once more repeated: "What can the grace of God do for him now?" Pressing her dying child to her heart, she answered — "Now above all, the grace of God will bring him gain and glory, for He will take him from the rage of his persecutors to the peace of His own home in heaven." Once more the dying boy looked up and said, "There is only one God, and one Saviour, Jesus Christ — who — loved — me." And then the Lord Jesus received him in His arms for evermore. The boy martyr went in to be with his King, that Saviour "who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel."

Agrippa, grandson of Herod the Great, once expressed a desire that his friend Caligula might soon come to the throne. Old Tiberius, the reigning monarch, felt such a wish, however flattering to Caligula, to be so little kindly to himself, that he threw the author of it into a loathsome dungeon. But the very day Caligula reached Imperial power, Agrippa was released. The new emperor gave him purple for his rags, tetrarchies for his narrow cell, and carefully weighing the gyves that fettered him, for every link of iron bestowed on him one of gold. Think you that day Agrippa wished his handcuffs and his leg-locks had been lighter? Will Jesus forget the wellwishers of His kingdom, who, for His sake, have borne the burden and worn the chain? His scales will be forthcoming, and assuredly those faithful in great tribulation shall be beautified with greater glory.

(S. Coley.)

We have sometimes watched a ship entering the harbour with masts sprung, sails torn, seams yawning, bulwarks stove in — bearing all the marks of having battled with the storms, and of having encountered many a peril. On the deck is a crew of worn and weather-beaten men, rejoicing that they have reached the port in safety. Such was the plight in which many believers of old reached the haven of rest. They met with dangers and encountered difficulties. But if their course was toilsome, their end was happy. It was their joy to labour and suffer for their Lord's sake, and they are now sharing His kingdom and His glory.

(Bp. Oxenden.)

If we deny Him, He also will deny us
There are many ways of denying Christ, both by word and action. We may take the part of His enemies, or ignore His supreme claim to our allegiance; we may transform Him into a myth, a fairy tale, a subjective principle, or find a substitute in our own life for His grace; and we may assume that He is not the ground of our reconciliation, nor the giver of salvation, nor the sole Head of His Church. If so, we may reasonably fear, lest He should refuse to acknowledge us when upon His approval our eternal destiny will turn.

(H. R. Reynolds, D. D.)

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