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The SECOND EPISTLE to TIMOTHY.
Paul and the heavenly kingdom (4: 19).
pp. 11 - 15
The "exigencies of time and space", to use a journalistic cliché, prevented us from
doing more than quote the apostle's closing doxology, as he reviewed the past, rose
triumphant over the present, and confidently looked forward to the future.
The circumstances are too solemn to permit us to discuss his last words so
unceremoniously, and we therefore take up our study where we left it in the preceding
"And the Lord shall deliver me."
Paul's earlier testimony to the Lord's deliverance was threefold (II Cor. 1: 10), and his
closing testimony was threefold (II Tim. 3: 11; 4: 17, 18).
"We were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of
life; but we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves,
but in God which raiseth the dead; Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth
deliver: in Whom we trust that He will yet deliver" (II Cor. 1: 8-10).
Here is deliverance, past, present and future. It was a deliverance from "so great a
death", from a pressure that was "out of measure" and "above strength", and although the
two words translated "sentence" ("answer" in the margin of II Cor. 1:) and "answer" in
II Cor. 1: and II Tim. 4: are not the same, they both breathe the atmosphere of the law
court with its grim possibilities. This early threefold deliverance took place "in Asia".
Its memory encouraged the apostle when he was "in Rome". The threefold deliverance
of II Timothy takes a wider sweep. It goes back to the beginning of Paul's ministry, and
it appears at the end.
A Past Deliverance. "Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at
Antioch, at Iconium and Lystra; what persecutions I endured;
but out of them all the Lord delivered me" (II Tim. 3: 11).
A Present Deliverance. "I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion"
(II Tim. 4: 17).
A Future Deliverance. "The Lord shall delivered me from every evil
work" (II Tim. 4: 18).
What did the apostle mean by "every evil work"? Such an expression hardly fits such
a deliverance as "out of the mouth of the lion", "work" rather looks to the deeds of the
individual himself. It cannot mean the attack of evil men, or the course of his trial before
Nero, for he was not "delivered" from these. Paul's concern was not so much with the
attacks of evil men upon himself, but with his own faithfulness, even unto death. He had