In the second letter to Timothy “the difficult times” that should be present in the last days are spoken of once, but of that which is ours “in Christ Jesus” seven times.
This is surely significant, and it would be healthful if we asked ourselves sincerely in the presence of God, Are we correspondingly in the joy and power of that which is in Christ Jesus, or, Are the difficult times so filling our minds that the other is well-nigh excluded? If the latter, we need to be reminded of the word which exhorts us to be wise as to that which is good, and simple as to evil (Rom. 16:19). Beware, brethren, of dishonouring God by being more occupied with the difficulties than the resources, for that is the way of certain defeat.
A sober recognition of the present difficulties is surely necessary. The all-wise Spirit of God has foretold them in the Word so that we might be forewarned and not be taken by surprise. He also made known that which would forearm those who are of the faith of God’s elect, so that as the deadly forces of deceit and violence push their great assault upon the faith in these days we should remain unmoved.
Lovers of self, lovers of money, boasters, men with a form of piety but denying the power of it, men corrupted in mind and worthless as regards the faith, men of passion having no love for what is good, and lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God are in opposition to the truth. All this is pointed out beforehand; but the treasured up resources for certain victory are also disclosed to us. Upon these we may freely draw. Those who are separated to the Lord, following righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call upon Him out of a pure heart, are abundantly provided for, so that they may be more than conquerors. Indeed, the great campaign against the faith only serves to intensify the value of our resources, and to throw into greater relief the triumph of the overcomer. Paul said, “I have fought the good fight, I have kept the faith. The crown of righteousness is laid up for me, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will render to me in that day; but not only to me, but also to all who love His appearing.” These words announce a great victory truly.
The three words, used seven times in our epistle, tell us where the perfect provision for complete triumph is found—“IN CHRIST JESUS!” And as we briefly look at the verses we shall see what these rich resources are. Do the forces of death urge their frontal attack? We have
(1) life in Christ Jesus (1:1). Are false insinuations made as to the final issue? God’s own
(2) purpose and grace were given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages of time (1:9). What spirit must mark us?
(3) Faith and love which are in Christ Jesus (1:13). And in what does our strength lie?—
(4) Be strong in the grace which is in Christ Jesus (2:1). It must always be remembered that
(5) salvation is in Christ Jesus (2:10); and if our sufferings abound, we must also remember that all who will
(6) live piously in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (3:12). Finally, the Scriptures are able to make us wise unto salvation, through
(7) faith which is in Christ Jesus (3:15); for every scripture is divinely inspired.
There was one servant of the Lord who toiled to present every man perfect in Christ Jesus, and he was himself well acquainted with what is in Him. There is abundant room and need for other servants of this sort today. Life is ours in Christ Jesus, also purpose, grace, faith, love and salvation; and it is always open to us to live piously in Christ Jesus. The more we possess these things in power, the greater will be our present triumph of faith. Our resources are infinitely beyond the difficulties.