II TIMOTHY 4
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO PAUL THE APOSTLE
The following essay is very complex, but I feel that we need to understand these things if we are to really grasp the meaning and import of the Gospel. Because of its intricacy I will use much repetition to try to make the meaning clear. Please read it slowly and carefully. This is my personal interpretation of the events recorded here. I believe it to be the truth after many decades of preaching and teaching the Bible. If you have questions, do not hesitate to tell me,
for I am still a student of the Book.
In chapter 2 of this book of II Timothy, Paul tells Timothy that telling the story of Jesus Christ, descended from David (therefore the One promised by God), resurrected from the dead (therefore the Son of God), was his Gospel. In other words, the story of God come to earth to tell man of His love and to give Him the characteristics of God that man could imitate, for that would make him a companion with God. God is Spirit, and His characteristics are Who He IS. So to love them is to love Him and to have a personal relationship with Him. Let me explain that more fully.
God existed before all things. He is the Spirit from Whom all power comes and Who can do anything He chooses to do. He projected from Himself His Word and gave It a separate personality, and called It His Son. This is what John tells us in the opening verse of his Gospel, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word WAS God…all things were created by Him”. In the Genesis letter we are told, “God said, ‘Let there be light’, and there was
light”. In other words, the creative power of God was His Word, but His Word was a personality and all things were created by HIM . So, Jesus Christ (the Word come to earth) was a part of God Himself.
John tells us that God’s motivation in coming to earth in the person of His Son was because He loved us. There are two reasons that God came here to live as a man. First, to prove to man that he could have a relationship with the God of Creation. This would have been impossible for insignificant man to believe, that he could have a love relationship with the eternal Creator of Heaven and earth. So, God came to be born, live and die as a human being. His resurrection was the proof of the fact that He was the Son of God, and therefore had the power of life, which He could impart to those who accepted Him.
The second purpose for coming to earth as a man was to bring the characteristics of God for man to see. Because God is Spirit, the characteristics of God ARE God, for they do not relate to the physical but to the spiritual, and God is Spirit. For man to love God is for man to want goodness, love, mercy, purity and all other good things. Those who want these things love God. Those who do not want these things do not. God wants a love relationship with man, and so He has given to man the right to choose, for without the power of choice there can be no love relationship. God will not, for any reason, violate this power He gave to man, for it is the whole reason man was created. This is why Jesus only appeared to His disciples, and not to Pilate and the Jewish leaders, after His resurrection. He did not want to force anyone to believe on Him. He wanted them to believe on Him because they loved the characteristics He came to show them and therefore to love God, for that is Who God IS. So, He offered proof in person only to those who loved goodness, righteousness and truth. While on earth, Jesus always told His disciples not to tell anyone when He performed a miracle. He did not want people to come to see a show, or to be drawn to a powerful man. He did miracles only to confirm that He was God’s Son and that His words were the words of life.
When Paul says “This is my Gospel”, and says it is the salvation that is in Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, he implies all of this. God loved the creature He had made and wanted a love relationship with him. In order to have it, He came to earth in the person of His Son, who, as His Word, was a part of Himself, and for reasons far beyond
our imagination, He offered the sacrifice which was sufficient to forgive our sins. This will allow us to enter the perfect realm of Heaven where He dwells. Heaven is not a physical place but a state of absolute perfection, which sinful man could not enter without the forgiveness of a loving God. The elect, whom Paul refers to, are those who want righteousness, truth, love and mercy. Jesus referred to these as “His sheep”, because they loved what He stood for, and therefore followed Him. But these are the characteristics of the Son
who was God on earth, and therefore they mean loving God.