Soteriology 0392 Timothy 2:11-13 • Dr. Andy Woods • November 27, 2016 • Soteriology - The Doctrine of Salvation
Soteriology 39, 2 Timothy 2:11-13
November 27, 2016
It’s nice to be back; I want to thank Jim McGowan for doing double duty last week; he does double duty every day though, he’s that kind of guy. He’s the one that made all those handouts too. I wasn’t going to say that because I want him to get his reward from God and not man so I just stole it from him, since everybody is focused on him now, and his generosity.
Let’s open our Bibles to 1 Timothy 2:11-13. My goal, I don’t know if I’m going to be able to achieve it, is to finish this series by the end of this year and we don’t have that many Sundays left till the end of this year, I think we only have five Sundays left and one of those is Christmas. Did you guys know we’re having church service on Christmas? We’re not going to be having Sunday School, so that means I have four Sundays. We’re going to have a regular church service from 10:00 to 11:30. So Sunday School on the 25th is canceled because Christmas falls on Sunday this year.
We are in the middle of a soteriology study and one of the things that you study in soteriology, or the doctrine of salvation, is eternal security. And eternal security is the idea that once saved always saved and a lot of people just haven’t come to the conclusion that they’re saved even though they’ve placed their trust in Christ. And this is an issue of great debate in the body of Christ so I wanted to really slow down and focus in on this and to get you familiar with the issue of eternal security because I believe that if whatever you settle on this it shapes really your whole Christian life. Are you serving God out of fear or gratitude is really what it comes down to. And a lot of people believe that they’re saved by grace through faith but then they go into their Christian lives and they say well, all that is true but I’ve got to maintain my salvation through my own works. That’s how a lot of people think and I’m trying to explain to us that that’s really not what the Bible says. In other words, if you believe that you’re living beneath your privileges in Christ.
So we went through I think about thirteen arguments that I think are very strong, arguing for the eternal security of the believer. And most teachings on this stop right there and they never give the other side of the equation. So that’s the reason this study is taking a little bit longer than most studies. I wanted to not just teach you about eternal security but I wanted to show you passages that people use to deny eternal security, which involves more labor, more work, more time, more of a commitment on my part and your part to teach this accurately, because I wanted you to be secure in your salvation, not just based on knowing certain verses but knowing how to explain the verses that at first glance seem to argue against your position. And that’s what really puts you on the cutting edge, not just articulating your own case. Anybody can get up and articulate their own talking points; it’s being able to interact with the opposition, that’s what really sets you apart, I think, as a servant of God. So if you’re talking with somebody that doesn’t believe in security and they bring up this passage or that passage or that passage, could you answer them in love.
So here are the categories that we’re looking at in term of passages that deny security allegedly. And we are focused on the passages from Paul and here are all the passages from Paul that I could think of that allegedly deny the security of the believer. And guess what? We’re finished with every single one of them except one of those we skipped, this one here, 2 Timothy 2:12 and it really finds itself in a context of verses 11-13. Now we’ve gone through 2 Timothy in this church in depth so some of you may remember this, I think we taught on this, I think about a year ago at this time. But some of you may not remember what was happening a year ago let alone last week.
So let’s go through this again; this is 1 Timothy 2:11-13. This is a key set of verses, particularly verse 12, that people use to deny security. And it says this, Paul writing to Timothy: “It is a trustworthy statement: For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him;  If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us;” oh-oh… And then verse 13, “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.”
So what you discover here in these verses, verses 11-13 are four “if—then” kind of clauses. The first one is not that difficult, it’s in verse 11, if we died with Christ we will live with Christ. When you placed your personal faith in Christ, according to Romans 6, you were baptized… now Romans 6 is not talking about water baptism, it’s talking about identification. Generally when the New Testament uses the word baptism it is talking about water baptism but sometimes the context tells you it’s not talking about water baptism, it’s talking about a positional truth because baptism simply means identification. In other words, when you trusted Christ something positionally happened to you, Romans 6. You were baptized or identified into Christ’s death, burial, resurrection and ascension. That’s your position in Christ.
So Paul is just rehearsing this at the end of his life because this is the last letter Paul wrote and he says if we died with Christ, which is what happened to you when you trusted Him, you will live with Him. So you are living with Him and you will live with Him one day in His future kingdom. That’s your position. And then the next clause is sort of problematic; it says if we endure with Him we will reign with Him. So now he’s not talking about something which is automatic, he’s talking about the necessity of the believer to endure with Christ in life, not to prove they’re saved but to qualify for authority.
Now the big problem is verse 12, if we deny Christ He will deny us. Now how do we handle the second part of verse 12. Well, there are four views on verse 12, three of which are bad, one of which I think is good. The good one, the correct one, I have it at the bottom, but a lot of people have adopted this view that this is just hypothetical, and I discover that in a lot of commentators because they don’t really believe that Christ could ever deny a believer anything so they just use what I like to call the Disney world example. That’s the best way I can explain this view.
It’s like you pack your kids up, you take them all the way or Orlando and then you get into Disney world and the kids start acting up, misbehaving, and as a parent you say if you don’t straighten up right now we’re going to go home, we’re just going to pack everybody up and go home. Have you guys ever tried that? And you know in the back of your mind that that’s not true because look at all this money you spent to get into this place and then they charge you $25.00 for a drink of water and you’ve traveled all the way across the country so you know in the back of your mind you’re not going to pack up and go home but the kids don’t know that so they straighten up. So that’s sort of how a lot of people look at these very sharp warning passages. God is threatening people with something that will never happen.
I do not believe this is a hypothetical because what is at stake with Timothy is rewards, as I’ll show you. Timothy’s salvation is not at stake but there is an issue related to potential loss of rewards, which is not hypothetical at all, it’s true. So the hypothetical to me makes God mischievous and dishonest and a misrepresenter. And the hypothetical view underplays the actual severity of the circumstance.
Now the Arminians come along and they say well if we deny Him, He will deny us, they basically interpret that as you’re going to lose your salvation. So that’s why I’m covering this verse now. You can have salvation then God can deny it one day and rip the carpet out from under you. There’s a much better way of understanding this verse as I’ll show you. And beyond that the Arminian view would contradict the very clear passages that we’ve already gone over that teach once saved always saved.
The Calvinistic view is really not that much better. And whenever I say “Calvinistic” someone will say well, I’m a Calvinist and I don’t believe that. Well, I’m defining Calvinism by how it was originally developed and Calvinists in its original sense basically taught this view that if you are one of the elect and you know you’re one of the elect because God has given you the gift of faith, if you have that gift of faith then you have to be an overcomer in daily life and that’s what they call the perseverance of the saints. In other words, there has to be fruit, it has to be in abundance and so what if you don’t have that fruit in abundance, then maybe you were never one of the what? The elect, because if you’re having any doubts in your Christian life then you obviously don’t have the gift of faith, because what God gives in terms of faith can’t fail.
And see the problem with both Arminianism and Calvinism, and this is why I speak against them over and over again, is they deny the assurance of salvation. There is no assurance of salvation in either system; they just come at it from slightly different angles. Arminianism says you had it but lost it; the Calvinist system says you never had it to begin with. So whichever way you want to go on this you’re always doubting, am I going to make it to heaven.
I do not think the Calvinistic understanding of this verse is correct; why do I say that? You notice the repetition of the first person plural pronoun “we”? See that? “It is a trustworthy statement if we” that would be Paul and Timothy, right, “if we die with Him we will also live with Him.” He says it again, “if we endure with Him we will reign with Him.” “If we deny Him He will deny us.” So he doesn’t just say “we” he says “us.” If we are faithless He remains faithful for He cannot deny Himself.” So Paul is putting himself into the same category as Timothy in this warning.
Now is there any doubt that Paul was saved? I mean, obviously Paul was saved. Paul is the apostle who wrote thirteen letters of the New Testament that we call the Pauline letters. He was the apostle to the Gentiles and there’s virtually no doubt that Paul was saved. So this idea that maybe Timothy is saved, maybe not, if he endures then he’s really saved, if he does not endure then he’s not saved, then you have to put Paul into that same category because Paul doesn’t say you, you, you, you, Timothy, he says we, we, we, we, us. So if you’re going to have doubts about Timothy’s salvation you’ve got to have doubts about Paul’s salvation. This is a problem with the Calvinist view that says maybe you’re saved, maybe you’re not.
Beyond that we know Paul was saved, was Timothy saved? Well, I think Timothy, there’s no doubt Timothy was saved. Why? Because Paul calls Timothy his “son in the faith.” Does he not? Not his physical son but his spiritual son. And you see that in 2 Timothy 1:2, “To Timothy, my beloved son….” If you go down to 2 Timothy 1, verse 5, Paul says, “For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.” Is there any doubt Timothy is saved in Paul’s mind?
And back in 1 Timothy 1:5, the first part of this two volume set called 1 and 2 Timothy, Paul writes in 1 Timothy 1:5, “But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” Timothy had the “sincere faith.” Timothy is Paul’s son in the faith. I really doubt that Paul would have ever put Timothy in a position of authority in the early church… and let me backtrack for a minute, think of the position Timothy is in, which church is he pastoring? The church at Ephesus. That’s no small time church, that’s probably the most influential church at the time Paul wrote this. So to hold to the Calvinist view that maybe Timothy is saved, maybe he’s not, it’s just a matter of his endurance, it just doesn’t make any sense because Paul says “we” and “us” over and over again. And why in the world would Paul put Timothy into that position if there was some lingering question mark whether Timothy was saved.
So what you have to get out of your mind, “if we deny Him, He will deny us” is you have to get out of your mind this idea of salvation. And that’s the error of Arminianism and Calvinism. They both insert into this context the potentiality of salvation and that’s not in this passage at all. It’s not in the context.
So if the hypothetical view is wrong, if the Arminian view is wrong, if the Calvinistic view is wrong, which is the correct view, and I’m glad you asked that question, thank you. The correct view of this is the rewards view. Going back to verse 12, 2 Timothy 2:12, what does he say here? “If we endure we will reign with Him, if we deny Him He will deny us.” Deny us what exactly? Well, the Scripture teaches that there’s coming for every child of God what is called the Bema Seat Judgment, which we’ve talked about already in this class, it’s described in 1 Corinthians 3:10-15, it occurs in heaven following the rapture and it’s not a judgment to determine if a person is saved. Once a person trusts Christ they have passed from death unto life, John 5:24, your salvation is no longer an issue.
[1 Corinthians 3:10-15, “According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it.  For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.  Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,  each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work.  If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward.  If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” John 5:24, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”]
What is an issue is rewards that we have the potential of receiving above and beyond salvation and Paul, in the 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 passage teaches very clearly that not us but our works will be taken through a fire. I’m not going through a fire, you’re not going through a fire, but my works will go through a fire to test their quality. And those things that are gold, silver and costly stones, which are all non-combustible, will survive the fire. Those things that we do as Christians out of carnal motives or means, called wood, hay and stubble, which are all combustible, will go through the fire and be consumed and whatever is finished after the fire finishes its consuming work will be rewards that we will either receive or not receive above and beyond salvation.
So Paul has already explained that principle in 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 and as we’ve talked about there are going to be five crowns given or not given. There’s the incorruptible crown for the believer that gains mastery over the flesh, 1 Corinthians 9:24-27. [1 Corinthians 9:24-24, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.  Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.  Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air;  but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.”]
Paul himself was fearful that he would be disqualified for that. That’s why Paul keeps saying “we” and “us.” “If we deny Him, He will deny us.”
There’s the crown of rejoicing for the soul winner, the crown of life for enduring trials, the crown of glory for faithfully shepherding God’s people, the crown of righteousness which is described in this same book we’re in, for longing for His appearing.
People always ask these kind of questions, well, are there more than five? I have no idea, these are the only five that I know of. I mean, if there’s a sixth one I’ll be pleasantly surprised. The only thing I can operate on is what the Bible reveals. And I don’t understand all of it, I just understand that this is a reality; there is a judgment coming for the Christian, for rewards. We’re told over and over again, at the top of the screen, that we’re going to take our crowns and do what with them? Strut around heaven and say look at me, look at me, look at me. I won’t be able to do that because I’ll be in a resurrected state. I won’t even be able to get in an argument with the people on Facebook any more I’ll be so spiritual, because sin won’t even be a possibility. So what I’ll do is I’ll be able to take my crowns and I’ll be able to cast them at His feet. Now why would I do that? Revelation 4:10. [Revelation 4:10, “the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying,”] Because I’m trying to pay Him back? No! Because I’m trying to earn something from Him? No! I’m doing it out of gratitude. Now wouldn’t it be kind of embarrassing to get to you and there’s nothing in your hand to cast at his feet? And I teach this in the classroom and the students always say I don’t really care about crowns, I just want to get to heaven, that’s all I care about. Well A, if you don’t care about crowns you don’t care about the New Testament because the New Testament unfolds the doctrine of the crowns and rewards. And B, don’t you want to stand before the Lord one day with the ability to glorify Him to the greatest extent possible, based on what He did for you? So I think we ought to be interested in crowns and I just have never understood this mindset that these people have, I don’t care about rewards. I mean, it just doesn’t factor into how I think.
So what is at issue and is with Timothy, going back to verse 12, second clause, 12b, “… If we deny Him, He also will deny us;” it’s not salvation, it is a potential denial of rewards. Salvation is guaranteed, rewards aren’t. That’s why Paul talks in 1 Corinthians 3:15 about the man who is saved but he’s like escaping a burning building. He’s in heaven, praise the Lord, but what does he have to show for his Christian life? Nothing, because he started with the right foundation but built the walls with wood, hay and stubble.
And so there will be a potential loss for people at the Bema Seat Judgment. That’s why 1 John 2:28 says when Jesus comes back don’t be ashamed at His coming. [1 John 2:28, “Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.”] Now why in the world would I be ashamed at the coming of Christ? Because I’ve invested my life in all of the wrong things and I’m not fully rewarded.
2 John 8 and Revelation 3:11 both warn us about losing crowns, losing rewards. [2 John 1:8, “Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward.” Revelation 3:11, “’I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown.”]
So at this Bema Seat Judgment some are rewarded some are not; some are rewarded more than others. And you’ll notice that what he says here, he goes beyond rewards, he says, “If we endure with Him, we will” what? “reign with Him.” So Jesus is coming back to set up His millennial kingdom, which will last a thousand years on planet earth and then this earth will be destroyed by fire and it will move from there into the eternal state. And what are we doing during all that time period? We are ruling and reigning with Him, not that He needs my help or your help but he allows into that process by delegating us authority.
Now over in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 19, Jesus makes some statements about future authority and he says in Luke 19:17, “And he said to him, ‘Well done, good slave, because you have been faithful in a very little thing, you are to be in authority over ten cities.’” Now notice that this slave is rewarded not based on his success… does the Bible say well done thy good and successful servant? It never says that, does it. It says, “Well done…my good and” what? “faithful servant.” So this guy that’s been faithful, he gets ten cities to rule over. And then you go down to verse 19 and it says this: “And he said to him also,” this would be another, “‘And you are to be over five cities.’” And we look at that and say well, that’s not fair, why does one guy get ten cities to rule over and one guy gets five cities, because after all, isn’t everything supposed to be equal? That’s what Karl Marx taught so it must be true, right?
And you know, in this society we’re living in we’re falling for this socialistic siren song where if you’re an achiever you need to be penalized and what you’ve achieved needs to be taken from you and given to the person that didn’t achieve. And it’s a tragic thing, you look at even the way sports are going with kids is… I’ve read some articles on this, they don’t give trophies for the championship team because we don’t want to make the non-champions feel bad that they weren’t champions so let’s just give everybody a blue ribbon for participation. And so we start to think this way in Christianity. I have some trophies in my office that I won for being on championship teams and there were other years that I wanted to be a champion, like my senior year in high school, but I don’t have a championship trophy because we weren’t the championship team. In fact, we came in fourth place which is one of my lifelong disappointments in the league that we were playing in. I’m gradually getting over bitterness in my life….
But we have this mindset everything has to be equal, there’s no such thing as champions, there’s no such thing as winners, there’s no such thing as victors and this is not biblical the way we think. Paul is patterning this whole thing off the Isthmian Games I believe, which is kind of a precursor to our Olympics. There are winners and there are losers. He says every child of God has a potential to win but that doesn’t mean every child of God will win. So that’s why one guy is ruling over ten cities, one guy is ruling over five cities.
So having understood that, that is what he is talking to Timothy about. “If we deny Him, He will deny us.” Deny us what? Salvation, the way Calvinism and Arminianism teach it? No, a denial of rewards. And that view that I have, the rewards view, fits the context of 2 Timothy beautifully because what is the circumstances that Timothy is under? Go back to 2 Timothy 1:7-8, I read this verse last night with my daughter because we were at marble slab suffering for the Lord over there, Marble Slab, and there was this big dog, and this dog was BIG, and the owner saw me and Sarah and Anne wasn’t there, she went to the movies, she knows what to do with her time better than we do… what movie did you see? You don’t want to talk about it, okay. There’s this big dog and it was like… it looked kind of like a Doberman or a Labrador and it was not a little dog at all, it was big, and the owner says to us, do you want to pet the dog? And I didn’t want to pet the dog until the owner took the dog’s head and put it like a headlock and shut its mouth and I figured out it was safe to pet the dog so I went and petted the dog and Sarah didn’t want to do it. I can’t say I blame her.
So that night we went over this verse here that God has not given us a spirit of fear. So I try to teach things to my daughter that come up in the day, acquiescing to fear. And so this verse came to mind, 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.  Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God.” So what is the circumstances of 2 Timothy? We’ve gone through this in depth at this church but you remember that Paul had put Timothy into a position of authority over the church at Ephesus and once that happened a mad man named Nero ascended to the throne and he began to burn Rome and blame it on the Christians. So this is something that Christianity had never experienced; this is the first formal wave of empire wide persecution against the early church. And the evidence of it is they’ve taken Paul and put him in prison and Timothy is very young to begin with, because it says in these books don’t let people look down on you because of your youth. And he’s sickly beyond that because Paul says that verse that the Baptists don’t like, take a little wine for your stomach, upset stomach. So apparently drinking some wine is okay (as long as you don’t overdo it) for medicinal purposes. [1 Timothy 5:23, “No longer drink water exclusively, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.”]
So Timothy is in this huge job, he’s standing in Paul’s shoes and this first wave of persecution has broken out and the guy is afraid, as you would be and as I would be. So what is he thinking about doing? Backing off. I don’t want to be too assertive in my connection with Paul because Paul got thrown in jail and I don’t want to get thrown in jail to Timothy is just shrinking back in what God has called him to do, he’s elevating, as we have a tendency to do, fear of man over fear of God. So in that context what does Paul tell Timothy? “If we endure with Him we will reign with Him.” In other words, if you don’t shrink back due to fear you will enter the next life fully rewarded and having all of the authority in the millennial kingdom that God wants you to have.
But if “we deny Him” as you, Timothy are starting to do with me, you’re disassociating yourself from me Paul says, because you’re afraid of suffering, “If we deny Him He will deny us,” deny us what? Deny us authority, and deny us reward. So the view of loss of rewards fits the circumstances of the book of 2 Timothy beautifully. In fact, it fits it so beautifully I don’t know why anybody would look for another view.
But what is happening with many systematic theologians is they buy into a theological system, whether it’s Calvinism or Arminianism and then it’s kind of like the way our Supreme Court works, we have our conclusion, now let’s go find the evidence that supports our conclusion, which is not scholarship. And theologians are just as bad as members of the Supreme Court; they figure out what they want to believe and they start rifling through the Bible to find verses that support their view. And so, oh, this one looks good here, “If we deny Him, He will deny us,” that’s got to be a loss of salvation, Arminianism, or it’s got to be maybe he never had authentic salvation, Calvinism. And that’s the furthest thing from Paul’s mind if you simply put the verses back into their original circumstance. Paul is not debating whether Timothy is saved, I’ve showed you why earlier; that’s not an issue. What is an issue is his ruling that he’s going to receive in terms of rewards and authority it the Bema Seat Judgment of rewards. That’s what he’s talking about.
Now “If we deny Him, He will deny us,” the NIV, some of you may be NIV positive, the NIV completely messes this up and this is why everybody is confused on this, because of the way the NIV, the New International Version, we used to call it the New Inspired Version as a joke, translates this… the NIV generally is a good translation if you’re doing devotional reading; if you want for your life a warm fuzzy thought for the day the NIV is not bad because it’s a paraphrase. If you want to do in depth study like the kind we do at this church, I do not recommend the NIV. I’ve never quoted from the NIV in any teaching I’ve ever done at this church other than to show that it’s incorrect in places. I use the New American Standard Bible; if you have a very strong view on manuscript theory you might be comfortable with the NKJV, the KJV is sort of hard for people because of the rough these and thous but the NKJV is very good. The NKJV and the NASV are very different than the NIV. The NKJV and the NIV are word for word translations; they are not paraphrases. The NIV is more of a paraphrase so people say well, should I use the NIV or the NASB or the NKJB and my answer is what’s your goal? If you just want kind of a rough outline of things and generally know what’s going on then a periphrastic version might be fine. But if you want to do in depth study where you’re talking about eternal security, trying to defend a certain doctrine then you don’t want the NIV, you would want the NASB or the NKJB.
Notice how the NIV mistranslates this. It says, second part of verse 12, “If we disown Him, He will disown us.” See the word “disown” there? And so the Arminian interpreter looks at that and says that’s salvation, that’s “disown.” So if I don’t persevere then God is going to disown me and I’m here to tell you that that is a terrible translation. The proper translation is not disown, but it is to deny. It has to do with the denial of somebody’s reward rather than yanking away the fact that they were ever a child of God to begin with.
Now why do I say that? Because the verb that’s used here, correctly translated “deny” in the NASB, is mistranslated as “disown” in the NIV, is arneomai, is how you pronounce that, it’s used twice at the end of verse 12. Now when you study that verb what you’ll discover is that’s the exact same verb used to describe Peter’s three-fold denial of Christ. Peter’s denial of Christ is recorded many times in the Gospels, Matthew 26:70-72, Mark 14:68, 70, Luke 22:57; John 13:38; John 18:25, 27.
[Matthew 26:70-72, But he denied it before them all, saying, ‘I do not know what you are talking about.’  When he had gone out to the gateway, another servant-girl saw him and said to those who were there, ‘This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.’  And again he denied it with an oath, ‘I do not know the man.’” Mark 14:68, “But he denied it, saying, ‘I neither know nor understand what you are talking about.’ And he went out onto the porch, and a rooster crowed.  “But again he denied it. And after a little while the bystanders were again saying to Peter, ‘Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean too.’” Luke 22:57, “But he denied it, saying, ‘Woman, I do not know Him.’” John 13:38; “Jesus answered, ‘Will you lay down your life for Me? Truly, truly, I say to you, a rooster will not crow until you deny Me three times.’” John 18:25, 27.  “Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, ‘You are not also one of His disciples, are you?’ He denied it, and said, ‘I am not.’ John 18:27, “Peter then denied it again, and immediately a rooster crowed.”]
As you go through those passage what you’ll discover is the same word, arneomai, that’s used over and over again, the exact same verb that’s used by Paul to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:12b, “If we deny Him He will deny us.” So when Peter denied Christ what did Peter need? He did not need salvation; there is absolutely unequivocally no doubt that Peter is saved. What Peter needed was not salvation after he denied Christ but he needed what? Restoration. So when Paul uses this same word relative to Timothy he’s saying Timothy, you know what? If you think back you’re on the same course that Peter was on because you’re about ready to succumb to the fear of man rather than the fear of God and should that happen you’re not disowned. To say you’re no longer a child of God is to say Peter was no longer a child of God when he did it. Peter didn’t need salvation after he denied Christ; he needed restoration of fellowship.
So Timothy, you’re on that same circumstance. The exact same circumstances that worked in Peter’s life a little over three decades ago are now at work in your life. And you’ve got a choice to make here; you’re either going to endure in your calling, under God’s power as God called you to do it, or you’re going to succumb to the fear of man. If you succumb to the fear of man what is going to happen is not that your salvation is going to be yanked away from you. What is at stake here is a denial of rewards; that’s what’s at stake, which fits very nicely to the argument of the book.
And as you go through the whole book of 2 Timothy what you’ll discover is this is a reward oriented book. It’s not a book about maybe you’re saved, maybe you’re not; that’s just foreign to the book’s meaning. For example, notice 2 Timothy 1:18, this is the first place I believe Paul introduces the doctrine of rewards. He says, “the Lord grant to him to find mercy from the Lord on that day—“ this is this man, Onesiphorus, “and you know very well what services he rendered at Ephesus.” Now this man is going to receive something special “from the Lord on that day.” What day? The judgment seat. Why? Because he endured in His calling.
Notice 2 Timothy 2, and notice verses 4-6, “No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.  Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules.” [6, “The hard-working farmer ought to be the first to receive his share of the crops.”] What is Paul talking about there, competing according to the rules. I mean, why should Timothy compete according to the rules? To receive the maximum reward that he has a potential of receiving at the Bema Seat Judgment.
Notice chapter 4, verse 1, “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to” what? “judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom:” Then he goes on and he says, [4:2] “preach the word; [be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.”] Why should he “preach the word”? Because there’s a future judgment where God right now is looking over your shoulder and He’s either going to reward you or not reward you based on your faithfulness, not your success, your faithfulness in your calling. Verse 7 of chapter 4 Paul says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;” Paul was going off into glory fully satisfied because he had finished the course that God gave him and he did not succumb to the fear of man.
Verse 8, well so what? Here’s the so what, verse 8, “in the future there is laid up for me” what? What does it say? “the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day;” and I like this part here, “and not only to me,” in other words, Timothy, I’m going to receive it but it’s not just for me, it’s for you too. That’s why he says “we” and “us” over and over in 2 Timothy 2:11-13, “and not to me only but also to all who have” what? “loved His appearing.” You mean we’re all just not going to get a participation trophy? No, we’re not, it says “to all” and then it gives a more limited category, “who have loved His appearing.”
Apparently there’s a lot of believers out there that are saved and have their fire insurance paid up but really are more in love with the world than they are God. In fact, in this chapter, we covered it last time I was with you, he mentions a guy named Demas who fell in love with the world and left Paul. So Demas is held out as an example of a believer that will be unrewarded, where Paul was going off into glory anticipating full reward. And then you go down to verse 14, there may be a reference there to rewards because it talks about Alexander the coppersmith, may the Lord “repay him according to his deeds.” [Verse 14, “Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds.”’]
So what am I really trying to get at? What I’m trying to get at is the whole book of 2 Timothy is a book about rewards. So therefore should it be unusual to interpret verses 11-13 as related to that same theme? And this is what you’re not getting with systematic theologians many times; you’re not getting the cover to cover treatment of the book. You’re getting a cherry-picking of a verse here and there but very little treatment on what the whole book says.
So don’t read the Bible through the lens of your theology, whatever your theology is. Read… and develop your theology from the flow of the Bible. And that’s why I’ve moved away from the Calvinistic view and the Arminian view and moved into the reward view. I didn’t come out and say the reward view, that sounds like a good one, let’s scramble through the Bible and find some verses. I came to it the opposite way. And before, when I used to call myself, first I called myself a five point Calvinist for many years, and I called myself a four point Calvinist, and then people would challenge me and I’d look at the Bible and I’d say well, I’m a three and a half point Calvinist. Now when people say well, are you a Calvinist or are you Arminian I say I’m a Biblicist. I don’t believe in either system because both systems, while they may be well intentioned, have major deficiencies. I don’t want my reading of the Bible to be hemmed in by any system; I want to develop the way I think about certain issues, like eternal security, from what the Bible actually says.
And when you hear a lot of preaching and teaching on the radio and on TV what you’re getting is cherry picking a lot of times. The preacher will make a point and then he’ll cite a bunch of verses and if you don’t know the Bible well you say to yourself well, that must be true, it’s biblical. Quoting verses is not validation of anything because who else quotes verses? The devil quotes verses; he quoted verses to Jesus in the wilderness there in Luke 4 and Matthew 4.
And when, not if, when the Jehovah’s Witness come to your door they’re going to give you literature and it’s going to have an awful lot of Bible verses in it and in fact a lot of those folks know the Bible better than we do and they’ll give you all kinds of verses. And your average person will sit there and say well… see, here’s who the cults prey on, p-r-e-y, not p-r-a-y, cults prey on people who believe the Bible is true but really don’t know a lot about the Bible. So the Mormons will come to your door and they will talk about how Jesus made a guest appearance in North America through the ministry (in quotes) “of Joseph Smith.” And you say well, where is that in the Bible?
And they’ll give you a verse, they’ll take you to Ezekiel 37 which talks about two sticks and it talks about the stick of Joseph, who they say is what? Joseph Smith, being merged into this other stick. So the revelation of Joseph Smith is just as valuable as this other stick which is the revelation of Jesus Christ. [Ezekiel 37:15-17, “The word of the LORD came again to me saying,  ‘And you, son of man, take for yourself one stick and write on it, ‘For Judah and for the sons of Israel, his companions’; then take another stick and write on it, ‘For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim and all the house of Israel, his companions.’  ‘Then join them for yourself one to another into one stick, that they may become one in your hand.”]
Now we laugh at that but do you realize how many people have been hoodwinked by that, because my goodness, it’s right there in the Bible, it mentions Joseph right there. And if you go back into the context of Ezekiel 37 you’ll discover it’s not talking about Joseph Smith at all, it’s talking about the millennial kingdom and it’s talking about the fact that in the millennial kingdom there’s not going to be a divided kingdom any more as there was when Solomon left the throne but the kingdom will be united again. It’s a millennial passage, it has zero to do with North America! Zero to do with Joseph Smith! Zero to do with Mormonism!
And yet Mormons are showing up at people’s doors and picking people off with an argument just like that because there’s a lot of people out there who really sincerely believe the Bible is true but they’re not investigating the Bible for themselves and they’re really not in churches that teach them anything about the Bible. They’re getting five points for success, three points and a poem, whatever it is they’re getting. And so they really don’t know a lot about the Bible so they’re like what Paul says in the book of Ephesians, chapter 4, they’re “tossed to and fro.” And they’re not rooted and grounded in God’s Word. [Ephesians 4:14, “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;” KJV]
So all of that to say when you’re developing a theology it’s very important not to piecemeal the Bible but to look at the Bible in its context, and if you look at the whole context of 2 Timothy 2:11-13 and you’ll see very clearly that it’s not talking about loss of salvation or maybe you never had salvation; it’s talking about the potentiality of loss of rewards. [2 Timothy 1:11, “It is a trustworthy statement: For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him;  If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us;  If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.”]
And Paul is just saying this: Timothy, you don’t have to go the same route Peter went; you don’t have to deny Christ, you can stay strong in the midst of persecution and it may cost you your life but you will enter glory fully rewarded. That’s his whole point. So there at the bottom of the screen, if your eyes are good, and I’m going to pull up something here on my Kindle, if I can find it, I want to quote something out of a book. At the bottom of the screen it says: “Perseverance” and you can put in there reward, “(UNLIKE Eternal Security) is not guaranteed.” Eternal security, arrival in heaven is guaranteed. Your perseverance in Christ is not guaranteed in terms of your daily life. Nor is your reward and degree of reigning in the coming kingdom guaranteed. You’re in the kingdom, that’s guaranteed; you don’t go into some kind of Protestant purgatory somewhere but the degree of reward that you wield in that kingdom is contingent on choices you’re making right now as a Christian. Do you follow? And this is what the Calvinistic system and the Arminian system both don’t understand.
I’m quoting here from Denis Rokser’s book which I highly recommend to you, it’s called Shall Never Perish Forever, it’s the best book on eternal security that’s readable that I’ve ever seen. A lot of my ideas for this series are coming from this book, but he makes this statement here in chapter 13, I don’t have the page number because I’m doing it on the Kindle, the antichrist’s microchip stuff here, but it says here, he says, “The Bible actually teaches that it is possible for one who is eternally saved by God’s grace to ellipsis,” and he lists all the things that a born again child of God can do. “It is possible for them to commit idolatry and apostasy, 1 Kings 11:1-10. It’s possible for them to believe for a while, Luke 8:13. It’s possible for them not to continue in the Word of God, John 8:31. It’s possible for them not to abide in Christ, John 15:1-8. It’s possible for them to be disqualified in the race of the Christian life, which was Paul’s fear for himself, 1 Corinthians 9:24-27. It’s possible for them to resist God’s chastening and correction to the point of death, 1 Corinthians 11:30-32. It’s possible for them to stray from the faith, 1 Timothy 1:5-6. It’s possible for them to shipwreck the faith, 1 Timothy 1:18-20. It’s possible for them to fall away from the faith, 1 Timothy 4:1-3. It’s possible for them to deny the faith, 1 Timothy 5:8. It’s possible for them to cast off initial faith and follow Satan, 1 Timothy 5:12-15. It’s possible for them to stray from the faith by loving money, 1 Timothy 6:9-10. It’s possible for them to stray from the faith by professing false doctrine, 1 Timothy 6:20-21. It’s possible for them to deny Christ and be faithless, he quotes the verse we’re looking at here, 2 Timothy 2:11-13. It’s possible for them to have their faith overthrown, 2 Timothy 2:14-18.
If these things aren’t possible why would there be all these warnings to the believer. He goes on and he says: “Old Testament and New Testament believers such as Lot lived in ongoing carnality. Such as Solomon who died worshipping false deities. Such as Saul who committed suicide after visiting a witch. Such as soil number 2, the believer who believed for a while but when persecution came fell away. Such as the justified regenerated Corinthians, who God disciplined to the point of physical death. Such as Demas, a fellow laborer for the gospel, who forsook Paul, having loved this present world. Such as Alexander and Hymenaeus whose faith was made shipwreck. Such as believers who would not endure sound doctrine but turned to fables, 2 Timothy 4:3-4. Such as the warning passages in Hebrews about apostasy directed towards believers in Christ. More on the warning passages as the series develops.
If we died with Him we will live with Him; that’s our position. If we endure with Him we will reign. So if I endure under God’s power God is going to reward me by giving me, not entrance into the kingdom but a higher position in the kingdom.
Well, what if I deny Him? Then He will deny me. Deny me what? Reward and reigning, not entrance. But what about this last part here, this is my favorite part of the whole thing. If we are unfaithful Christ remains what? Faithful, for He cannot deny Himself. What if I screw the whole thing up? What if I trust Christ and build my whole life on wood, hay and stubble? What if, in the case of Timothy I trust Christ, get appointed to leadership in the church at Ephesus but succumb to the fear of man rather than the fear of God, what does that mean? What it means is a denial of reward; what it does not mean is a denial of salvation, because according to verse 13 Christ will never renege on his initial promise of granting the believer the gift of eternal life; that promise is yours. Even if I am unfaithful, the Greek word there in verse 13 for unfaithful is a, which is a negation, pisteuō, which can be translated unfaithful and faithless. If I am unfaithful to Christ as a Christian and even, God forbid, reach a point in my life where I stop even believing the gospel, the initial promise that God gave me that when I placed my faith in Him I’m saved, that can’t be taken away either. Do we understand that? Why? Because Jesus made you a promise. John 5:24, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My Word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.”
For years and years I did not understand grace because I felt that somehow God’s approval was based on what I did as a Christian. The fact of the matter is, I didn’t get my foot in the door by my works so why would I become so deluded in my thinking where I thought that what kept me in the door was my works. That’s grace! Understanding the doctrine of grace is not just understanding the fact that what got you in the door was not works. But it’s also understanding that what keeps you in the door is not works. I probably had about 50% of it right for most of my Christian life and some of these grace teachings I get a little choked up, as you can see, it’s not just theology, it’s personally impact and I share these things because I want you to have the understanding too. Let’s pray.
Father, we went a little long today, I know there’s a lot of questions, but I just marvel at what we have and I just ask for Your forgiveness for not really understanding it, skating over it and help, Father, in this church and this congregation that we may not understand everything about Your Word but we understand this much, that we’re saved by grace and kept by grace. We’ll be careful to give you all the praise and the glory. We ask these things in Jesus’ name. And God’s people said… Amen. Thank you for putting up with me.