8Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David—that is my gospel, 9for which I suffer hardship, even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But the word of God is not chained. 10Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, so that they may also obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. 11The saying is sure: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; 12if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he will also deny us; 13if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself. 14Remind them of this, and warn them before God that they are to avoid wrangling over words, which does no good but only ruins those who are listening. 15Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly explaining the word of truth.
I invite you to consider the verses above and consider what challenges you and what brings you comfort.
I am going to go out on a limb here and guess that most of you find a lot to be comforting, but verse 12 is a challenge. “If we deny him, he will also deny us.”
That seems to go against what you have heard preached and taught by this pastor, and I hope others as well, yes?
So what does this mean?
Does Christ Jesus deny us? If I turn my back on Jesus, will he, in turn do the same?
First of all, let us always look at scripture in light of the big picture. Where we start is at what we proclaim – Jesus Christ is Lord. He is the one who died and rose again. Because of this, we are given the promise of forgiveness and life. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Second, scholars state that all the words of verse 12 need to be seen as one statement. Denial of Jesus Christ moves us out of the place of reigning with him. You don’t want a leader who isn’t on the same page as you are.
Notice that when Peter denies Jesus three times, Jesus doesn’t give up on him. Instead, he brings him back to that leadership position by giving Peter another chance… or better yet, three chances… asking Peter, “Do you love me?”
There are times we turn our backs to Jesus. By what we do, and by what we leave undone.
And the good news is that God doesn’t give up on us.
What verses bring you hope and comfort?
I believe there is a lot of good news in the remaining verses. For the Word of God is not chained.
It’s an ongoing process, this faith thing. We will have days of success and failure (or even moments), and yet God Word will endure. God’s love will continue. God’s forgiveness will cover a multitude of sins.
May this good news carry you today.
Let us Pray: Almighty God, forgive me for the times I deny you. Turn my heart to you once again, for you are the one who offers us the words of eternal life. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.