Suffering’s Three-fold Purpose from 2 Tim 2

You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, 2 and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 3 Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. 5 An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. 6 It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. 7 Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.
8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. 11 The saying is trustworthy, for:
If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
12 if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he also will deny us;
13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful—
for he cannot deny himself.
 – 2 Timothy 2:1-13



Two commands come right out of the gate at the start of this chapter:

Command #1: Be strengthened by the grace in Christ Jesus. (2:1)

Command #2: Teach to faithful men what I’ve taught you. (2:2)


Then there is a third command supported by three illustrations and one exemplary model:

Illustration #1: A Soldier (2:4)

Illustration #2: An Athlete (2:5)

Illustration #3: A Farmer (2:6)

The Exemplary Model: Jesus Christ (2:8-9)

Paul, then reiterates Command #3: Endure Everything (2:10)

Listen closely to why Paul says to “endure everything.”  This is the point of this post.
Paul says, “I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”
We are exhorted to endure the suffering for the sake of the elect, that they may obtain salvation.


See how this part of a prayer from the Valley of Vision titled, Conflict, echoes the thoughts from this passage: 

O Lord God,
Thou art my protecting arm, fortress, refuge, shield, buckler.
Fight for me and my foes must flee;
Uphold me and I cannot fall;
Strengthen me and I stand unmoved, unmovable;
Equip me and I shall receive no wound;
Stand by me and Satan will depart;
Anoint my lips with a song of salvation and I shall shout Thy victory;
Give me abhorrence of all evil, as a vile monster that defies Thy law, casts off Thy yoke, defiles my nature, spreads misery.
Teach me to look to Jesus on His cross and so to know sin’s loathsomeness in Thy sight.
There is no pardon but through Thy Son’s death, no cleansing but in His precious blood, no atonement but His to expiate evil.

(from The Valley of Vision, pg 100)


There is no pardon but through Thy Son’s death.
No cleansing but in Christ’s precious blood.
No atonement to expiate evil, but Christ’s atonement.

This passage in Second Timothy 2 leads me to see there is a three-fold purpose to my suffering:

1. My suffering…reminds me of that which Christ suffered on my behalf on the cross.

2. My suffering…allows me to join in Christ’s suffering and be molded more in His image.

3. My suffering…is for the sake of the elect, that they may obtain salvation in Christ Jesus.

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