Study 12 GOD’S WAY OF DELIVERANCE
PAUL’S SECOND LETTER TO TIMOTHY
by Francis Dixon
Scripture Portion: Romans 6:1-18. Key verse: 2 Timothy 4:18
God’s purpose and provision for every Christian is a life of victory. This truth is emphasised in our key verse, which contains Paul’s dying confidence. Paul was an old man when he wrote and he was in prison awaiting his final trial before Nero. For thirty years he had known and served the Lord, and now, at the end of his earthly life and service, awaiting martyrdom, what were his reactions? Was he filled with self-pity and overwhelmed with discouragement and a sense of defeat? No – read 2 Timothy 4:18! What confidence this man had in the face of martyrdom! But Paul’s dying confidence should be the confidence of every living Christian. Perhaps you are defeated and overcome, you are in trouble and in distress; but you are God’s child and He is your God, and He wants you to have this holy confidence in Him and in His purpose. He wants you to know deliverance and glorious victory. Linked together in this verse are several victory secrets, as follows:-
1. A LIFE OF GLORIOUS VICTORY IS PROMISED BY THE LORD AND IS AVAILABLE TO EVERY BELIEVER
This is the message of our key verse, and how it challenges us, for is it not true that we are often defeated by sin, living on a low level of Christian experience and overcome when tempted? We worry and become anxious, we are fearful and apprehensive, we constantly become insecure and we often sin against the Lord. Is this the best that God has for us? Should this be the normal experience of a Christian or has God provided for victory? Yes, He has, and our verse tells us this. The Lord Jesus came to be our Saviour (Matthew 1:21) and compare Hebrews 7:25. The great declaration of the letter to the Romans concerning the sanctification of the believer is – look up Romans 6:14. God’s plan is that we should be – Romans 8:37! It is God’s will that we should live a victorious life, enjoying victory over sin and self and victory in the middle of life’s trials.
2. THE VICTORY WHICH THE LORD PROMISES, AND WHICH IS POSSIBLE FOR EVERY BELIEVER, IS COMPLETE
It is not a partial victory. The deliverance is from “every evil attack” – that is, everything that is contrary to God’s will for us. Does this include victory in the midst of sorrow, loss, bereavement and trouble? It certainly does. It does not mean that we shall not have these things, but it means that when they come we shall be victorious in the midst of them. Paul was deserted by his friends, but the Lord delivered him from bitterness; he was imprisoned, but he was delivered from self-pity; he was lonely, but he was delivered from the sense of loneliness by the consciousness of the Lord’s own presence (2 Timothy 4:17); and he was waiting to be martyred, but he was delivered from fear. God’s plan and purpose is that we should be delivered from everything that is contrary to His will for us, and this includes the deadly work of the Devil, the subtle work of the world, and the insidious work of the flesh. It includes deliverance from fear, doubt, anxiety and worry; it includes the gift and enjoyment of His peace, His calm and His quiet confidence.
3. THIS LIFE OF VICTORY, WHICH THE LORD PROMISES TO AND PROVIDES FOR EVERY BELIEVER, IS NOT ONLY COMPLETE BUT IT IS CONTINUOUS
Paul knew that he did not have long to live – perhaps only a few weeks or months – but he was confident that the Lord would preserve Him to the end of the journey. Consider this for a moment: the Lord can keep us for one second, or for many years until He calls us into His immediate presence. He does not promise to bring us to any position in which we are unable to sin, but rather to bring us into a position of union with Himself and a sharing in His victory so that we are able not to sin. This is victory indeed!
4. THIS LIFE OF VICTORY IS THE ONLY LIFE THAT GLORIFIES GOD
Paul finished his great statement with the words, “To him be glory for ever and ever.” Does our sin and our failure glorify Him? When we are gripped by fear and overcome by doubts, does that glorify Him? No! These things do not glorify Him. The only life that glorifies the Lord is one which is being delivered from “every evil attack”.
5. THIS LIFE OF VICTORY IS NOT THE RESULT OF OUR TRYING, OUR EFFORT, OUR STRUGGLING OR OF OUR WORKING, BUT IT IS ALTOGETHER OF HIS DOING
Notice how careful Paul is to say, “The Lord will rescue me…” Why have we failed so often when we have been tempted to sin, or when we have been overwhelmed with troubles and trials? If we have failed, then each time it has been due to the fact that we have not let the Lord give us the victory. There are three secrets of entrance into this victorious Christian life. They are:-
- (1) Acknowledge. We must acknowledge our need, that we have failed and that we need the Lord Himself to give us deliverance and victory. We must recognise that the life of victory that God wants us to enjoy is impossible of human attainment.
- (2) Abandon. We must stop trying in our own strength to gain the victory, for we can never do it; it is beyond our powers – look up 1 Corinthians 15:57.
- (3) Appropriate. We must take the victory that God offers us, and as we acknowledge our desperate need we must abandon ourselves to the Lord and then appropriate the enabling that He gives us.
Notice how our key verse finishes: it finishes with the word ‘Amen’, which means ‘So let it be!’ Because it is the Lord’s plan and purpose for us to live a life of victory, because this is possible for each one of us and it is the only life that will glorify Him – ‘So let it be!’