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"If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him; if we deny Him, He also will deny us"
(II Tim. 2: 12).
He looked forward to that "crown", and the deliverance he prayed for was not from
the hands of men, but from the slightest denial that he might be tempted to make of his
Lord. Those of our readers who have ever stood before an earthly tribunal, who have had
the well bring of self and loved ones in their hands, need no reminder of the strength of
that temptation that presents itself to temporize, to compromise, in other words "to deny"
one's Lord or calling. And if by grace one has emerged from such an ordeal, with the
veriest rags of decency left, no one who knows his own heart, could ever adopt boastful
language, but would rather see in one's "stand", a "deliverance" from oneself, a
"deliverance" from an "evil work" indeed.
Paul makes it clear that "profession" "works" and "denial" go together, for writing to
Titus he said:
"They profess that they know God, but in works they deny Him."
Moreover, the passage in Titus adds the words:
"and unto every work reprobate" (Titus 1: 16),
which is the very opposite of the word rendered "approved" in II Tim. 2: 15, and is
translated "castaway" in connexion with being "disqualified" for the crown in the Greek
races (I Cor. 9: 24-27). In view of "that day" Paul saw the whole of Christian service as
"work", and that:
"Every man's work shall be made manifest . . . . . every man's work of what sort it is"
(I Cor. 3: 13).
The "works" that occupy the apostle in his last epistle are:
The works of the flesh which are entirely set aside in the scheme of gospel
grace (II Tim. 1: 9).
"Good works" which sum up acceptable service and for which the
Scriptures equip (II Tim. 2: 21; 3: 17).
"The work of an evangelist", the "full proof" or goal of Timothy's ministry
(II Tim. 4: 5).
The "works" of Alexander the coppersmith which will come up for
"reward" either of gain or loss in "that day" and,
"Every evil work" that would militate against the apostle's own
perseverance and loyalty to the end (II Tim. 4: 18).
The apostle had the choice of several words to express the "evil" character of the
works from which he trusted for deliverance: kakos, poneros, adikos, phaulos.
These four words have slightly different meanings which should be observed when
translating or interpreting any given passage. Kakos indicates something useless,