Daily Readings & Thought for May 26th. “IF … WE WILL ALSO LIVE WITH HIM”
Among the believers in the First Century there was in circulation what are called the ‘sayings of the faithful’. There was no opportunity for the great majority to learn to read and write so certain sayings were memorized. Some persons with exceptional abilities of memory are said to have memorized all the Psalms. Mission workers have been surprised when meeting some so called ‘illiterate’ people in India to find how fully they have trained their memory.
Paul includes one of the ‘sayings’ that was in circulation among the believers in the chapter we read today. First he writes, “I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” [2 Timothy 2 v.10] and then quotes this saying: the first part being, “If we have died with him, we will also live with him.”
We die with him when we are baptised. Going down under the water and then coming out again is a symbol of his death and resurrection – we are acknowledging that his death was for us. The saying then stresses the need to “endure” – it surely reflects the words of Jesus, “the one who endures to the end will be saved.” [Matt.10 v.22] The actual saying Paul is quoting is – “if we endure we will also reign with him”.
Wonderful – beyond our imagining! But the saying concludes with the negative picture of those who fail. “if we deny him, he will also deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful – for he cannot deny himself” [v.12,13] When Jesus had cause to say to his hearers, “O you of little faith” [Matt 6 v.30] he nevertheless did not give up – wonderfully countless thousands have been prepared to die with him after he had died for them.
It is sad that as Paul completes this epistle he needs to mention one who he had earlier named as a “fellow labourer” (Philemon v.24) but now he has to write of him, “for Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me …” [Ch.4 v.9]. What is there in the world today to “love”? !!
May all those who read these lines, “die” with Christ in baptism – and then “endure”, helped by their daily reading and meditation on the divine word – and their fellowship together – which plays an essential role in aiding us to endure to the end so that we “will also live with him.”