2 Timothy 1:8-14
Do Not Be Ashamed
To be imprisoned is considered a dishonorable thing; being condemned as a common criminal by a court or magistrate is counted a disgraceful matter; to be executed for a crime is regarded as the highest punishment reserved for the most despicable of humankind. Paul was imprisoned and expecting to be both condemned and executed; but then again, so was his Master. And for all he knew, the same would happen to Timothy not too many years down the road. And so having exhorted young Timothy to courage and love and self-control, he builds on these encouraging Timothy to “not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God.”
Paul says the same in other places: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel.” And why is that? “For it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16). And here, Paul spells out even further why the Christian is not ashamed: 1) Because through the gospel God saves and calls us to a holy calling and life; 2) which He does not on the basis of our works but of his own purpose and grace; 3) which was his plan before the ages began; 4) all of which was revealed in the fullness of time through the coming of our Lord and Savior “who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” How could anyone be ashamed of this? Yes, they will imprison you; yes, they will condemn you; yes, they will rob you of your goods and even your family, and finally kill you. But what we lose here we gain immeasurably there. The missionary and martyr, Jim Elliot, said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” So, Timothy, do not be ashamed. Preach the faith. Don’t judge by appearances. And “by the Holy Spirit who dwells with us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.”
Paul said just before this that he was certain that God “is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.” What is this “deposit?” The deposit entrusted to us is the gospel of God and the faith attached thereunto, meaning the teaching of the gospel, both doctrinal and ethical. God has entrusted it to believers who are to bear it well by living it well and sharing it well. But the encouraging word which Paul experienced in his own hard life is that we are not told to bear it in our own strength: The One who has entrusted it to us as a sacred deposit is the very One who helps us to keep it and guard it, for it is God who works in us both to will and to work (Philippians 2:13). So be not ashamed—no matter what comes.