Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Marsha's Musings: God Will Not Save Us from Trouble in this World but He Walks With Us Through It (II Timothy 4:16-18 NKJV)

At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them. But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. Also I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen! (II Timothy 4:16-18 NKJV)

Paul is in a Roman prison at the time of this writing.  He indicates near the end of 2 Timothy that he is about to die.  We do not know how he died.  Many believe he was beheaded.  But Scripture doesn't tell us and the ancient historians don't either.  All we know is he was in danger and about to die.

During this time period it was against the law to be a Christian.  Perhaps this is why he says that all forsook him at his first defense.  They were afraid for their own lives.  

But The Lord stood with him so that he was strengthened to preach the gospel to his accusers.  He also mentioned being delivered from the lion's mouth.  We aren't told what the circumstances were of that, but I wonder if he was put in the arena as entertainment with the lions prowling about to tear him to pieces.  This was common practice in Nero's Rome.

Paul goes on to say that The Lord will deliver him from every evil work and preserve him for God's heavenly kingdom.  There are those who would take this passage and build a doctrine around it saying that God will protect us from all evil whether it be evil men, bad health or whatever.  After all God protected Paul from all of this....even the lion's mouth!

Wait a minute!  If Paul was sitting in a Roman prison as he wrote, had been close enough to getting torn by a lion, had been beaten three times (other passages), suffered from some sort of physical ailmment that he sought The Lord three times to remove but He didn't, and ultimately it is assumed that he was beheaded...would you say that God protected him from all evil in this life?  NO!

So what is Paul talking about?  He is talking about God protecting him from spiritual evil that would send his soul to Hell.  He says God will preserve him for His heavenly kingdom.  It is a spiritual preserving.  No one will take us out of the Father's hand.  Physical death can not remove those Christ died to save out of the Father's hand.  We will not be saved from physical ills or the works of evil men.  We will endure hardship and trouble but God walks with us through it all.  

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