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I know whom I have believed

A Christian’s faith is not in faith itself, for this cannot save. A Christian knows Christ, the Son of God, and it is in Him we have faith. Paul was confident of his salvation – he knew Christ. To have faith, one needs knowledge. One can have faith in an unseen God, but we cannot have faith in one whom we have no knowledge for we read “… faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17)  Faith is the ‘substance’ of the thing we hope for, as the writer to the Hebrews put it (Hebrews 11:1).

Having faith in someone who may or may not fulfil his promises leads to a lack of confidence – we cannot have trust in such a person. If we are unsure that someone is able to fulfil a promise, or does not have the wherewithal to do so, or simply does not keep promises we would not trust such a person. Someone who has let us down once is difficult to trust the next time. On the other hand someone who always keeps his promises, never lets us down, has shown he is capable and has the wherewithal to do what he promises, he is the one whom we would put our trust. Christ is such a person: “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”. 1 Timothy 1:15.

Paul here is able to express exactly his trust in Christ Jesus and his explicit confidence in Him; “for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” (2 Timothy 1:12) Paul’s life’s experience and knowledge of God (provided by the Holy Spirit) persuades him that Christ is able to do exactly what he promises, that is, Christ is able to deal with the wrath of God upon sinners, provide a propitiation for our sins (2 John 2:2, also Romans 3:25) and therefore he able to obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 2:10). Thus Paul knows that when passes from this life to the next, on death, his soul will be taken into God’s presence. He therefore is able to express confidently: “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:8).

Paul not only expresses his confidence in the Lord Jesus Christ, but acts out those expressions. Paul is in prison because he preached the gospel, and writes a letter of exhortation to his friend Timothy. The gospel is clear to him: “God ..who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,”
2 Timothy 1:9-10. Paul preaches this gospel because he knows it is true and although he may suffer a little while on this earth, far greater things awaits him – he is able to write: “there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness”.

John summed this up thus: “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.” 1 John 5:20

David L Simon
Posted: 02 Nov 2014