2 Timothy 2:11-13 This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him. If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us. If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.
These verses are what we might call a creed or a statement of faith of the early church. What a drag, right? A creed. I mean, isn’t a creed just the seed of a hangup? Are creeds really important … are they really necessary? Well, for one thing, we have a creed here in the Word of God. And for another thing, there are many more creeds in scripture. So, it would seem that God considers them important.
Christianity has always been creedal … creeds are found throughout scripture. To step away from creeds would be to step away from scriptural Christianity. The Apostles recognized that creeds help people to solidify and remember scriptural concepts. Of the creed we are going to start out with today, Paul says, “This is a” pistos logos … “a reliable word.” In the Latin Vulgate, it is the word Fidelis, meaning “Constant, lasting, true and faithful.”
In verse 14, Paul says to Timothy in regard to this particular creed, “Remind them of these things.” From the outset of this letter, Paul has been concerned to encourage and inspire Timothy in his calling. These were difficult times for Christian believers; persecution was widespread, and heresy in the church was on the increase. The church of Ephesus, which Timothy was pastoring at this time had some pretty big issues. But Timothy would be taking on Paul’s role after Paul was martyred. He would be ministering to a lot of Christians in a lot of churches with a lot of problems.
Earlier in verse 8, Paul wrote, “Remember Jesus Christ.” Why did Paul have to tell Timothy, his “son in the faith” and the man who would inherit Paul’s ministry, to “Remember Jesus Christ?” For the same reason that Paul says, “Remind them of these things” in verse 14. People forget. And this is why creeds that are scriptural are so good … and why the Apostles introduced creeds into scripture. We have to make a conscious effort to keep the awareness of Christ and our position in Him in the forefront of our minds. Why? Because we so easily lay aside what we know for what we feel, and feelings lie to us. So, it’s good to know what scripture says. In this way we may do what Paul counsels in verse 15:
2 Timothy 2:15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
What we believe affects what we do. True teaching promotes righteousness … but sin flourishes where “sound doctrine” is ignored. Sound doctrine was very important to Paul. Why? Because sound doctrine is important for both the saved and those who will be saved.
1 Timothy 4:16 Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.