THE CHARACTER OF A SOLDIER OF CHRIST(2TIM. 1-26)
The second chapter of 2 Tim. is delightful. In these verses there are seven figures of speech that are used to describe the duty and the activity of a believer, which need to be impressed upon us more and more as we approached the end time.
(1.) THE SOLDIER OF CHRIST IS TO BE STRONG IN THE GRACE THAT IS IN CHRIST JESUS, ( 2tim. 2:1-2)
A child of God is born into God's family by means of his faith in Christ. "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever" ( 1 Pet.1:23). If you feel that you can follow a few little rules or some clever gimmicks to make you a mature Christian, then you have fallen into a subtle trap of regalism. Paul gives no rules, and the word of God has no rules to tell the child of God how to live the Christian life. WE ARE SAVED BY GRACE , AND NOW WE ARE TO LIVE BY THE GRACE OF GOD AND BE STRONG IN THAT GRACE.
When I hear Christian say, " I do not do this, and I do not do that, and I am following a set of rules," I immediately recognize that they know very little about the grace of God. THEY ARE TRYING LIVE THE CHRISTIAN LIFE IN THEIR OWN STRENGTH. Paul says, " BE STRONG IN THE GRACE THAT IS IN CHRIST JESUS". But the question is how? How can we be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus? The simple answer is to " ABIDE IN CHRIST JESUS, BECAUSE APART FROM HIM WE CAN DO NOTHING" ( john 15:5). THEN IN JOHN 15:7 JESUS HIMSELF SAYS, " IF YE ABIDE IN ME, MY WORDS ABIDE IN YOU AND YOU SHALL ASK WHAT YE WILL, AND IT SHALL BE DONE UNTO YOU". Then somebody may ask. How do we know that we are abiding in Christ Jesus? The simple answer again is - WHEN WE WALK ACCORDING TO GOD'S WILL, AND WHENEVER WE ARE FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT, THEN WE ARE ABIDING IN CHRIST JESUS BECAUSE WE SURRENDER ALL THINGS TO HIM.
(2) THE SOLDIER OF CHRIST IS SINGLE MINDED ( 2 TIM. 2: 3-4).
The Christian is a soldier. How is the child of God a soldier? The last chapter of Ephesians tells us that the believer is fighting a spiritual battle and he needs to put on the armor of God. Paul said to the Ephesians : " For we wrestle not against flesh and blood,but against principalities, against power, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore, take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand" (Eph. 6:12-13).
Here in (2tim.2:3-4)- The good soldier is to endure hardship which means to suffer hardships, as Paul was suffering. The good soldier must put priority on his calling and be completely dedicated to his task and his commander. HE IS A SINGLE- MINDED SOLDIER TO FOLLOW HIS COMMANDER (JESUS CHRIST). The world FOLLOW pertaining to Jesus Christ was used approximately 70 times in the new testament alone. Jesus said in (John 12:26) "--- If any man serve me, let him follow me: ----".
Then in (Mat.4:19) Jesus said- " follow me and I will make you fishers of men".
(3) THE SOLDIER OF CHRIST IS STRICT ( 2TIM.2:5-10)
" And if a man also strive for masteries , yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully " (2tim 2:5). The picture in this verse is of an Athlete who must play according to rules. A Christian must adhere to the requirements of his calling, making the word and will of God His standard in all things. Here Paul is comparing the Christian to an Athlete. Paul spoke of the Christian life as being a Racecourse, and He said, "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus"(phil.3:14).
Paul also said that He wanted to keep His body under control (see 1 cor.9:24-27).Paul's goal was to run the Christian Race in such a way that the one who is at the end of the Race is-THE LORD JESUS CHRIST- who would be able to reward Him and be able to say, "WELL DONE,THOU GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT"(Matt.25:21). A Child of God is to "STRIVE"; God intends that He wins the Race. Every Child of God needs to recognize this.
(4)THE SOLDIER OF CHRIST IS SECURE(2tim.2:11-13)
"IT IS A FAITHFUL SAVING : FOR IF WE BE DEAD WITH HIM, WE SHALL ALSO LIVE WITH HIM" (2 TIM. 2:11). When we come to Christ and receive Him as our Savior, His death becomes our death. We are identified with Him and are raised with Him in newness of life. This means that this very day He wants to live His life out through us by the power of the Holy Spirit.
" IF WE SUFFER, WE SHALL ALSO REIGN WITH HIM : IF WE DENY HIM, HE ALSO WILL DENY US" (2 TIM. 2:12)
" if we suffer, we shall also reign with HIM". I personally believe that not all believers are going to reign with Christ. I believe that this verse narrows it down to those who have suffered for Christ. I believe this verse is referring to a definite group of Christians who have really suffered for Christ like the Apostles- Peter, Paul, John, and others. Also Stephen and others who were not disciples but suffered because they refused to deny Christ. In the Roman world of Paul's day there were many Christians who were martyred - five million of them, according to fox - because they refused to deny Christ.
" If we deny Him, He also will deny us". This is a very strong language. It reveals, however, that Paul believes that faith without works is dead (see James 2:17). You see, Paul and James never contradict each other. James is talking about the works of faith, and Paul is saying that genuine faith will produce works. Calvin put it like this: " Faith alone saves, but the faith that saves is not alone".
"If we believe not , yet He abideth faithful ; He cannot deny Himself " (2tim. 2:13) . God " cannot deny Himself". He cannot accept as true one who is false. That is the reason He gave such a harsh denunciation of the religious rulers of His day. He call them hypocrites because they were pretending to be something they were not. If Christ accepted someone who was not genuine, He actually would be denying Himself because He is true. Therefore, we should be genuine.
(5.) THE SOLDIER OF CHRIST IS SOUND OF FAITH (2 TIM. 2:14-19).
(2TIM.2:14) says- "Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the Hearers". The soldier of Christ, who is sound of faith ,will not INDULGE IN WORD BATTLES, WORDY CONTROVERSIES , AND QUIBBLING ABOUT WORDS. These are not only profitless but harmful to those who hear them. Empty discussions would unsettle those who heard: but Timothy was to proceed according to the word, avoiding vanities, remembering the marks of the sure foundation, and seeking , by right conduct, to be useful to the Lord.
Then in (2tim. 2:15) says- " study to shew thyself approved unto God, A workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth". The soldier of Christ should handle correctly the empty or lacking sense of interpretations of false teachers in both analysis and presentation. Then in (2tim. 2:19) says- " .....Having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are His. ....). " Having this seal ". The seal was a mark of authentication and ownership. " The Lord knoweth them that are His". The Lord knows His Children.
(6.) THE SOLDIER IS SANCTIFIED (2 TIM .2:20-23)
" But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of WOOD and of EARTH ; And some to honor, and some to dishonor. If a man therefore purged himself from this, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work....." (2tim 2:20-23). In these verses a believer is pictured as a vessel. If a vessel is to be usable it must be clean. There will be some wicked persons (of WOOD AND of EARTH) IN EVERY CHURCH , BUT NO ONE NEED REMAIN WICKED. "------The house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of truth" (1tim 3:15). The church is the pillar and ground of the truth. Some men purport to represent the truth, but actually they do not represent the truth in the way they lead their lives. Their was a question about their integrity. They hurt the church they served and brought it into disrepute. Paul is writing to tell the church how it should act so that it can represent and proclaim the truth of God to the world on the outside. The believer must be clean in order to be usable .The soldier in Christ must be sanctified in order to be usable.
(7.) THE SOLDIER OF CHRIST IS A SERVANT (2TIM 2:24-26)
(2tim. 2:24-26) say- " And the servant of the Lord must not strive: but be gentle unto all men , apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves ; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth....".
The Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to every one, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose Him He must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to the knowledge of the truth.
Finally , a believer is like a servant ,and he is to be gentle to all men . It may seem like we have a contradiction here. The soldier was to fight but the servant is not to fight. Is this a contradiction? No, it is a paradox. When we are standing for truth, we are to be definite and let people know where we stand. Do not be a coward! Some one has put it this way, " it is said that silence is golden, but sometimes it is just yellow"! Be sure to stand for the truth. If you are trying to win a person to Christ, do not argue with him . If he disagrees with you, let him disagree with you. Just keep on giving him the word of God.
Written by Osmundo S. Sabado
Edited by Orman L. Sabado