A brother recently commented on an earlier post regarding this very passage, and I thought it would be wise to look into it. It is one of the passages that made me consider conditional security many many years ago.
It bugged me then, being an avowed OSAS (once saved always saved) believer, but as is the case, when you see something you don’t like (or won’t try to understand) denial is bliss!
This passage, specifically verses 11 – 13 are full of if’s. Jam packed. Let’s consider the meaning of “if”
In English “if” can be defined as a word…
- used to talk about the result or effect of something that may happen or be true
- used to say that a particular thing can or will happen only after something else happens or becomes true
- used for introducing a situation or condition that must exist before something else happens
The English “if” is now understood. (snicker snicker)
The wrinkle in this is that the Greek used in the New Testament has four conditional “if’s”.
As if “if” wasn’t conditional enough, eh?
Granted, all four of the conditional clauses in this passage below are of the First Class “Simple Condition” and could easily be translated as a fulfilled condition.
So for example, the first clause could read “If, as is the case we have died with him…”
So before we dig in, lets take a few moments to simply read the text under consideration.
2 Timothy 2:11-14
11 The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
12 if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us;
13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful– for he cannot deny himself.
14 Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers.
As you can see, as an avowed OSAS follower, these verses were difficult to find comfort in. Verse 12 was simply to be glossed over.
Let’s consider each of the conditional clauses in the following posts and and try to figger out what Paul is getting at. Lets look at the second clause in this post.
2 Timothy 2:12 a
If we endure, we will also reign with him
Let’s remember that the conditional clause could be translated, “If, as is the case we endure, we will also reign with him”
Again, Paul is stating a case of reality. These believers have endured, and Paul is encouraging them to continue. This verse, if considered alone, would be a great proof text for the perseverance of the saint teaching. I tend to see an Old Testament occurrence filling out this phrase.
Do you remember when David was being hunted by King Saul? He had a rag tag group of followers that wandered the countryside with him, believing that David was their hope, thier leader, thier rightful king. Is it not so with us? We are certainly a rag tag group of followers, following a King who has been anointed as King, but rejected and persecuted by the current power structure. And yet, as we endure like those following David, we shall reign with our Master.
But is there a present reality also included in this promise? A cursory search for instruction on this comes up without any clear direction.
Nevertheless, let us not seek for authority other than the authority to serve and love one another. This is the path to walk, the life to live.
I hope to see y’all in our next post where we shall consider “If we deny him, he also will deny us.”
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