2 Timothy 2:1-7
A Good Soldier
In this passage, Paul gives us some sound advice on how to be good soldiers for Jesus Christ. The advice is specifically for Timothy and secondly for pastors but is applicable to all God’s people.
1) “You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” This reminds us that the believer’s strength is something that is outside himself—the grace of Jesus Christ. We cannot go in our own strength and overcome temptation, endure trial, and grow in holiness—these are impossible for us apart from our Lord’s grace, which is why the Apostle says in another place, “I can do all things through [Christ] who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). Paul confesses that he did nothing for Christ on his own.
2) “What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” This is an indispensable task of a pastor: He must train other godly men, SO THAT those men may train others. This is a common sense strategy for building the Church of Jesus Christ that has only been rediscovered in last thirty years or so. For too long, men have considered church a matter for women and children. When men leave a church or become complacent within a church, that church soon dies. We must teach our men that godliness is a matter of manliness, that self-control is a manly virtue, that conquering one’s passions requires the blood, sweat, and tears that most men lack. Christian men must know that sacrifice and self-denial isn’t just for those who join the armed services. We are the ones who follow the true man who made the ultimate sacrifice as well as numerous martyrs who suffered (and still suffer) for the faith. Christianity is a manly religion; ask a knight from the Middle Ages. Better yet, be a knight from the Middle Ages.
3) “Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” Again we note a manly virtue: suffering for another, for something good. Then Paul offers three analogies that shed light on this: The soldier who does not allow civilian pursuits to distract him from pleasing his Commanding Officer; the athlete who competes according to the rules refusing to compromise his regimen or cheat for the sake of gain; and the hard-working farmer who refuses to shirk his responsibility when others are depending on him to provide. These are the kind of men today’s church is missing and sorely needs across the board. Our Lord chose twelve men; these trained other men. This is the biblical model. Pastors must train godly men.