II TIMOTHY 2
THE GOD OF CREATION
Our purpose in these essays is to present important ideas and concepts in the text which will increase our knowledge and enhance our spiritual life. Some of these concepts are practical ways of disciplining our behavior, others expand our understanding of God and of His purposes for us. In this first chapter of II Timothy, I want to notice a couple of such concepts. These are of primary importance but are often overlooked in our Biblical studies.
First let us look at Paul’s statement, the gift of God which was in Timothy by the “laying on of my hands”. I have often witnessed this rite of “laying on of hands” by leaders and preachers, but the purpose of it is often misunderstood. There are three ways the “laying on of hands” is used in the New Testament: for giving one God’s Holy Spirit, and enabling them to perform miracles, for the purpose of healing and for appointing one to do a certain work. The first of these could only be given by an Apostle, or one commissioned by an Apostle. The purpose of receiving the Holy Spirit of God was to give direct understanding to one who was commissioned to preach or teach the Gospel. In these early days there was no Bible from which to learn the deep mysteries of God’s message to man. So He had to personally lead teachers so they could rightly proclaim the truth. The miracles were given for the purpose of authenticating the message they were preaching. So these powers were only passed on by the ones chosen by Jesus Christ to spread the word. The last purpose of “laying on of hands” was simply a symbol that the one receiving it was appointed by the elders, or the one doing it, to carry out faithfully the task assigned to him. So Timothy was empowered by Paul to have the knowledge of inspiration from God to teach the word.
Let me point out that inspiration from God only included the knowledge of the truth. It did not affect the zeal or motivation of the recipient. This depended on the faith and dedication of the minister himself. That is why Paul urged Timothy to fan the flame and to continue earnestly pursuing his faith.
The next important concepts that I want to note are found in verse 9 of chapter 1. Paul says that God has saved us and called us to live a holy life not because of anything we have done or merited but for “His own purpose”! It is important to emphasize that God is the Creator of all, and that we are here not to follow our own purposes but to fulfill His purposes. The meaning of life, given by God, is to do His will, not ours. In our self-centered world today, it is hard to convince men that they are not free to do as they please, nor to seek success for self-gratification. Too many people want to argue that “God wants me to be happy and so whatever makes me happy is good”. Wrong! God’s purposes are not to be found in the hedonistic pursuits of human beings.
Finally, in this same verse, Paul says, “This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time”. Two things are of great importance here. First, it says that God is not limited by time, for He created it. No human mind can really comprehend this. We only know about things in the limited world of time and space. So we can only know “by faith” the extent of the majesty of God. Second, this states that Jesus existed with God, His Father, from before time even began. When He came to earth as a man, it meant that God Himself (because Jesus was a part of God [His Word] ) came to earth to bring to man the message of His love and grace. What an overwhelming idea, and one which man could only have believed if God had come Himself to bring the message. (John 1:1-2 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”.)
We need to understand these concepts to expand our understanding of the greatness and majesty of God, who is the ONLY ONE to be worshipped, and to come to a better understanding of the purpose and importance of our life. “The Heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth His handiwork”, but only in the New Testament story of Jesus Christ can we know HIM! Based on the evidence of His wonderful creation, we can have faith in a God Who is far beyond our imagination.