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Paul, the Apostle.
"I am not ashamed, for I know Whom I have believed."
It would not be entirely in harmony with the Word to leave the consideration of the
apostle's trials, and the pursuit of his life's purpose, without a reference, not only to the
sources of opposition, but the source of his strength and encouragement. The second
epistle to the Corinthians contains not only the deepest exhibition of the apostle's
sufferings, but also most clearly reveals the secret of his endurance. The opening words
of the epistle deal with comfort in tribulation. The title of God is, "the Father of mercies
and the God of all comfort"; the extent of the apostle's sufferings are said to be, "out of
measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired of life itself". This extreme brings
the great sustaining power of God into prominence:--
"But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves,
but in God WHICH RAISETH THE DEAD".
This same power is seen in chapter 4:; there we not only read of his trials, but of his
deliverance. The treasure is designedly in an earthen vessel that the excellency of the
power may be of God and not of themselves. Is the apostle troubled on every side? Yet
he is not "straitened". Is he perplexed? Yet he is not entirely without means. Is he
persecuted? Yet there is One who never leaves him. Is he cast down? Yet is he not
destroyed. He indeed bears in his body the putting to death of the Lord Jesus, but only
that there may be abundantly manifested in him the risen life of Christ.
This "power of God" the apostle refers to again in chapter 13: 4 in a way that shows
clearly that he served in the power of the risen Christ. The apostle's desire to know "the
power of His resurrection" is coupled with a knowledge of the Lord, "that I may
know Him"; this is seen to be a source of strength to him by considering his words in
II Timothy. After calling upon Timothy not to be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord,
nor of Paul, His prisoner, he tells us that in the midst of all his sufferings he also is not
ashamed, "FOR I KNOW WHOM I HAVE BELIEVED". He did not look to man for
praise or for blame, he sought wholeheartedly to "serve the Lord Christ"; this singleness
of eye led him into close fellowship with his Lord, and the knowledge of His glorious and
gracious Person was a panoply in the fiercest trial. "All in Asia" were turned away from
the apostle, and at his first defence no man stood with him, but all forsook him,
notwithstanding the Lord stood with him and strengthened him, and he knew that he
would be delivered from every evil work, and be preserved unto His heavenly kingdom.
Not only the power of the risen Christ, and the knowledge of Him, but the deep
conviction of his stewardship must be included in the sources of his strength. This is
apparent in both passages we have referred to in II Timothy. First in chapter 1: 12 he
says, in addition to the statement that he "knew" Whom he had believed, "and I am
persuaded that He is able to guard my deposit (R.V. margin, `that which He hath