2 Timothy 4:3
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,
(a) Sound doctrine includes the gospel of grace that Paul preached. It is the announcement that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:3-4). It is the happy announcement that God is no longer counting our trespasses against us (2 Cor. 5:19), that he freely offers us his righteousness as a gift (Rom. 5:17), so that we may rule and reign with Christ here on earth (Eph. 2:6).
(b) Wanting to have their ears tickled. The natural man has no time for the gospel of grace. He doesn’t want to hear that his good works count for nothing. He wants principles for living and keys to success that he can implement as he works his way up the ladder of self-improvement. Although Paul exhorted Timothy to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus (2 Tim. 2:1), the natural man prefers to rely on his own strength and understanding. He believes that if he does the right things and makes the right decisions he’ll pull himself up by his bootstraps. He’ll impress God with his accomplishments and bless himself with his all-round goodness. But that’s a myth for ticklish ears.
2 Timothy 4:18
The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
(a) The Lord will…. The difference between the old covenant and the new covenant is we will versus he will (Jer. 32:40). If the old was characterized by people making and breaking their promises to God, the new is characterized by God’s unshakeable promises to us.
(b) Will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom. There are more than 100 promises in the New Testament guaranteeing the eternal security of the believer, and this is one of the best ones. If our salvation were up to us, we would surely be lost. But what Christ begins, he finishes. He is both the Author and Perfecter of our faith (Heb. 12:2). The good work he started in you he will carry on to the day of completion (Php. 1:6).
Further reading: “Eternal security scriptures”
(c) Amen. What the Lord requires, he provides. Everything you need, from salvation to holiness, and righteousness, he freely supplies according to the riches of his grace in Christ Jesus. There are no ifs and buts in God’s promises to us. There are no conditions for you to fulfill. All he asks is that we take him at his word. All he requires is that we believe in his eternal goodness as revealed in Jesus.
Further reading: “The ‘I wills’ of God”
2 Timothy 4:22
The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.
Grace be with you. Paul sometimes finishes his letters by saying “the Lord be with you” (2 Th. 3:16), and sometimes he closes by saying “grace be with you” (Eph. 6:24; Col. 4:18). As this verse reveals, there is no difference (Phm. 1:25). To have the Lord is to have his grace.
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