2 Timothy 1:8 (KJV) Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God…
Verse 8 of this portion of Scripture appears to be the link between three distinct themes Paul is using to instruct Timothy concerning the discharge of his duties as a minister of the Gospel.
2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV) For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Paul was teaching Timothy that the enemy is able to use Timothy’s apprehension and lack of confidence to dissuade him from faithfully discharging his ministerial duties. Paul was quick to remind him that he is not to rely upon his own strength when engaging in ministry. If he were to rely upon his own strength, he would have great cause for his lack of confidence and apprehension.
The Relationship Between Fear (v. 7) And Shame (v. 8).
Paul reminded Timothy of his strong background in which his mother and grandmother instructed him in the things of God. So Paul knew Timothy’s faith and service was from a pure heart and conscience. In other words, Timothy’s experience with God was real. Therefore, Timothy could draw upon the resources provided by God listed in verse 7 (power, love, and sound mind).
The combination of those three things could assist Timothy in overcoming the shame stemming from the events that had taken place in Paul’s life and ministry. The fear and shame of association with being identified with faith in Christ may have caused Timothy to consider whether this lifestyle was indeed everything he had been raised by his mother and grandmother to believe. Paul wanted to reassure Timothy that, not only was the testimony of faith true but also encouraged him to continue to be a force in the advancing of God’s Kingdom. This would be fulfilled by embracing a willingness to become a partaker of the sufferings (if necessary) and using his gifts of preaching and teaching the Gospel.
2 Timothy 1:12 (KJV) For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.
The Discernment Between Honor And Disgrace (vv. 8, 12).
Paul was saying, in essence, that he was able to embrace the afflictions he endured because he had full confidence in God’s ability to preserve and protect everything he entrusted to His Sovereign hands. If God had the power to preserve all that Christ Jesus committed to Him during His endurance of the Cross, then He is fully capable of doing the same with him.
Paul entrusted the Lord with his life, his ministry, and his faith in an eternal life beyond death. Paul knew that God wanted to deliver him from death, He had the power to do so. He knew that if God allowed him to die, He was able to raise him up in like manner to Christ’s resurrection from the dead.
From Paul’s perspective, any direction God chose to move in his life would be beneficial to both himself and the advancing of the Gospel message. In life, Paul would be able to continue his ministry. In death, others would understand that there must have been some truth to what Paul preached if he was willing to die for his beliefs. Either direction would provide an opportunity for more souls to be won for God’s Kingdom. It was a win-win situation.
Therefore, Paul considered all things endured within his life and ministry to be an honor and privilege solely because of the power and effectiveness of the Gospel testimony.
2 Timothy 1:9 (KJV) Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began…
The Calling To Holy Living (vv. 8-9).
Paul was teaching Timothy that the life of a believer is often antithetical to the lifestyle of the surrounding culture. Being called out of the darkness and into the marvelous light of God (1 Pet. 2:9), those who profess to believe in and ascribe to life in Christ will not engage in the same practices of the world.
This conscious decision causes us to behave differently from those around us. As Paul states elsewhere, before coming to Christ, we were the enemies of God (Rom. 5:10). Why? Because we operated in the flesh and were carnally minded. Paul teaches us in Romans that “…the carnal mind is enmity (or hostile) against God…” (Rom. 8:7). It has no desire to adhere to the holy life to which God calls His people to live.
What Paul was explaining to Timothy was that there is the temptation to forego the afflictions and hostile actions that believers could possibly endure for their stand against the sinful climate in which they lived. However, more important to remember is that God’s power was able to sustain them both in life and in death. In other words, it was okay to live countercultural to the surrounding worldview. What matters most is our acceptance with God, not being accepted by the world.