Text: 2 Tim. 1:7-8
The gospel which is the Lord’s tidings has its own affliction. There is a difference between hearing the gospel and partaking in it. Hearing the gospel opens the soul up to the afflictions of the gospel so that partaking of it can be possible. To partake in the gospel is to participate in it. It is to bring the soul into fellowship and communion with what the gospel entails. There won’t be profiting in the gospel if we don’t partake in the afflictions of the gospel.
You can hear the good tidings and the good tidings of good and yet not partake in them because you’re not ready to partake in the afflictions they come with. Affliction here isn’t sickness and disease, because God doesn’t have those. Affliction is the training the gospel communicates. Every layer of the gospel has its own training or affliction. Affliction is packaged in the workings of the things that have been heard.
What made the Old Testament church not profit in what they had heard is that they had issues with the afflictions that came with it. Afflictions like hunger, thirst, and the delay in giving to the soul what it wants. All such are examples of afflictions that come with the gospel. Their murmuring because of these afflictions denied them of profiting in what they had heard. They were not able to internalize what they had because they denied the afflictions that it brought.
The wilderness which is Christ is our imprisonment. Christ regulates us within a borderline and boundary and ensures we do not step out of it. The doctrine of Christ sets boundaries. A man that has not come under the doctrine of Christ has not come under imprisonment. This imprisonment is invisible but very well recognized in the spirit. The faith of our Lord Jesus Christ is an imprisonment. The lively hope is also an imprisonment. It is to cause us to stay within the confine and range of Christ. Wild goats graze anyhow, but sheep graze within confinements and boundaries.
Everything that takes place within the doctrine of Christ is the first affliction of the gospel which the wilderness typifies and Christ embodies. These afflictions of the gospel are to prove what is in our hearts, because we do not really know what is in our heart. It’s in the wilderness that the soul is trained to not fear evil (2 Tim. 1:7). The essence of the gospel of Christ is to ensure we stay within faith and hope - to make us prisoners of both.
The teaching of faith is the first imprisonment of a soul. It sets a standard which you are obliged to live and abide by. It ensures you walk in it. Refusal to walk in it stands as disobedience. When righteousness has been exalted, you have become imprisoned and you no longer have alternatives. To be imprisoned means you don’t have alternative standards you can live by, but just one. Walking out of the standard will be a disobedience and dishonor to righteousness.
Likewise hope: the hope of the gospel comes to raise a standard to us. This is because there are several hopes on the earth - hopes of the dead. But there is the hope to live called the lively hope which is a standard that must be lived in the earth.
Men are embodiments of hope. One hope leads to another; it never ends. Hope is eyes. What a man sees is his inspiration and life. This is what God’s servant calls vanity of the heart. Hope is what blinds the eye and brings vanity to the mind. If God will help a man, He will bring him to the wilderness and change his hope - to hope for what other men cannot hope for. What God does is that He makes a man to hope for what will make him alive. One sign that the soul is living is if his hope has been exchanged with the hope of Christ.
There is a hope we must have to hope for the glory of God. The glory of God is also a great achievement. It is a great estate. The heart that can see the glory of God is the heart that has the lively hope. Not all flesh will see the glory of God. It is flesh that has come into the hope of Christ that can see the glory of God. And there is no way the hope of Christ can be installed in you if other hopes are not expunged.
Before the day of the Lord comes, the Lord comes to measure his people to see if they have measured up to his standards.
These afflictions are also temptations. They are the training for the hope. They take away wrong hopes. Anything you cannot live without on earth apart from Christ is a wrong hope. Some people cannot live without having money, without being in control, or being a pastor of a large assembly, and so on. You can find such hopes even on the pulpit. The wilderness comes to beat out every other hope until you are only content with the lively hope.
The essence of the affliction of the gospel is to limit us from false arrangements of life. It’s not bad to live well on earth, but what the gospel comes against are your derivations and motives. Every hope has an expectation. Check, what is the expectation of what you’re doing? Satan has made sure that behind everything here on earth there is an expectation.
‘Goods’ here are not only physical goods. When your ego is brushed, your goods have also been spoiled. You should rejoice when you’re not recognized or when you’re spoken ill of. The kind of joy that comes in the midst of all these comes from a reality within.
It is in the season of affliction that all our goods are spoiled. All our hope is taken away at this point to give us the lively hope. Men who go through such training should know they have in heaven a better and more enduring substance. These substances are not what you receive when you die and go to heaven, but you receive from heaven.
2 Tim. 1:8
These afflictions Apostle Paul is speaking about here are powered by God. It is the power of God that can create a new environment around you to make sure things don’t go the way it goes for others, just so you can live. Despite the fact that you gave the same dedication others are giving o something, you end up not receiving the same outcome. Just like the same dedication that brought forth Ishmael, couldn’t bring Isaac. Such sufferings are for a moment, and are not make a soul live.
2 Tim. 1:9
A man has fulfilled his holy calling when he has been rid of every other expectation that is not of God.
2 Tim. 1:10
The apostles spoke of the coming of the Lord. This is not the second coming, but the coming of the Lord has our Savior. When He comes, He comes with the good tidings of good. He comes as our Saviour, not the Savior of the whole world.
The first coming of the Lord is to take away sin and the second is to bring salvation. This second coming is to abolish death.
There is ‘sin and death’ which is this world, and there is ‘hell and death’. Just the same way there is a difference between the beloved Son and the begotten Son. Jesus was called the beloved Son at Jordan () but also later came into the level of the begotten Son (). Jesus destroyed "sin and death" and "hell and death" to come into these levels respectively. The beloved Son comes to His own. He doesn’t come except you are His own, that is, you have obeyed the doctrine of Christ. But the begotten Son is the High Priest at the right hand of the majesty on high, who has incorruptibility.
The essence of the good tidings of good is to make us incorruptible. It is the incorruptible seed which lives and abides.
What gave birth to the begotten Son was the incorruptible seed which is the good tidings of good that publishes salvation. It is a people have been spoiled of their goods that can come into these good tidings.
The devil won’t stop coming to tempt us, bringing corruptible things to stop us from the incorruptible. This was what he did with Christ in the wilderness when he tempted him. He was tempting Christ, God’s beloved Son. This means Christ can still be corrupted, but the good tidings of good is to plant in us the incorruptible seed which will make it impossible for us to sin.
This is what we are aspiring for. Such a people will at this time. Even angels desire such men.
1 Pet. 1:22
There is the incorruptible seed which is the good tidings of good. This seed is the gift of God. It is the gift of divine nature. It is the incorruptibility of God which the Son of God inherited. We are blessed if we have this seed, even if we have not borne it’s fruits. The seed alone will make sure you cannot sin, how much more its fruits.
A man with the incorruptible seed will bear forth the tree of life which is salvation.
One thing that has plagued Nigeria for example is corruption, where everyone has a price. Corruption means you can be bought over and allegiance can change. It means there is something that can be offered a man to shift allegiance. This is why charity is used to train us to make sure we keep loving our brethren no matter what they do to us. The essence of such training is not really because of our brethren, but to get us ready to be stable with loving God.
To come into incorruptibility is to do a work in a man through obedience. To make a soul incorruptible, there is a school he is taken to. He is taken to a school of the word of God that lives and abides forever.
Incorruptible judgements are understanding that will be given to a heart to break down what constitutes corruption or expire it in a man.
To not die doesn’t mean you are incorruptible. A man can be incorruptible and still shed his body. Death in itself is departure from the living God.
There is a knowledge that our souls will come into that will address perishing. This word is the word of eternal life. Everything that is made has been ordained to perish. Only the Godhead cannot perish. So the word of eternal life is what addresses and takes away perishing.
Perishing is a tendency in every man, even Christ because Christ is still a creature - new creature. So God wants to move us from Christ into being a divine man who has received all things of God.
2 Tim. 1:12
There is a power that can keep us into salvation, and this power is the power of faith. But there is also the eternal power which works incorruptiblity in us.