Posted On September 16, 2020

Clinging to Christ in Cultural Chaos – Part 2

by | Sep 16, 2020 | Theology

Last time, we looked at some Old Testament background for what it means to cling ourselves to Christ. Today, we turn to 2 Timothy 2:8 to consider Paul’s words to young Timothy.

“Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel…”

Remember?

The first thing I think of when I read this verse is – how could Timothy every forget Jesus? And what a thing to say to a Pastor or perhaps we should understand Timothy more in a missionary role, but either way, what a thing to say.

We might expect Paul to say “Remember your Greek declensions.” Because that’s something that seems easier to forget than Jesus! Or maybe we expect Paul to instruct Timothy on how to be politically correct or how to use his platform to be a cause for social justice.

But he doesn’t. He says remember Jesus Christ. He instructs Timothy not to avoid suffering, but to “Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 2:3). And that’s the wider context here of 2 Timothy 2:8. One of the ways young Timothy is to endure in his ministry is by remembering Jesus Christ.

I would add the same is for us in 2020. We will only endure insofar as we remember and cling to Christ.

The idea of remembering here is: “to recall information from memory but without necessarily the implication that persons have actually forgotten.”[1]

So, the idea here is not that Timothy would actually “forget” Jesus. But the command is to actively and intentionally recall Christ. That if we are not careful—other things will come to the forefront of our minds and hearts.

Sports. Money. Fear. Sin. If we are not careful, we will remember those things and forget our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Maybe imagine it like this: Our heart is a vast ocean. And Christ is a great treasure. And a great and weighty treasure sinks in the ocean. It is the less valuable stuff that floats to the top. The planks of wood. The garbage.

If we are not careful, it is these things that will attempt to have priority in our hearts, that will vie for the greatest affection. Our hearts will be focused on the great garbage heaps of this world rather than on the eternal riches of Christ and His gospel.

But Paul says, remember Jesus Christ. See Him as the treasure He is and keep Him at the top of the surface. Keep Him at the forefront of your minds and hearts. May His grandeur and glory be the driving force and focal point of our lives and aspirations.

Future Posts

The remainder of this series will be covering 5 ways we must cling to Christ in cultural chaos. We will get to the first point today and then a couple more posts after that. Before I get into the points let me mention this:

Paul says, remember Jesus Christ. The Jesus of Paul is the only Jesus that will do. The Jesus of Paul is the Jesus of the gospels. The Jesus of Paul is the Biblical Jesus. We dare not invent a Jesus of our own imagination. The Jesus we must cling to is the Jesus of the Scriptures. Only He will do.

With that in mind, the first point to remember is:

Cling to His Humanity

Paul says, “Remember Jesus Christ.” We believe God breathes out every word of the Bible and that even word order matters. In 1-2 Timothy Paul uses the phrase “Christ Jesus” over 20x. And he uses the phrase, Jesus Christ, something like 4x. And in 2 Timothy itself he uses the phrase “Jesus Christ” only 1x, and it’s right here in 2 Timothy 2:8.

Why does Paul say Jesus Christ here instead of Christ Jesus? Some have said he is subtly emphasizing the humanity of the Son of God by placing Jesus before Christ.

So, beloved, let me remind us here, to cling to His humanity.

Remember His incarnation — As Spurgeon said, “The infinite became an infant.” God became man. Two natures in one person, which is what we call the hypostatic union. Fully God and Fully Man. Conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.

Remember His affliction — The Son of Man had nowhere to lay His head. He was a man of sorrows acquainted with grief. Born in a manger to parents of lowly means.

The pinnacle of His affliction is, of course, the cross — nailed to a cross of wood. Beaten, battered, bruised. Behold His hands. Behold His side. Behold His feet. See from these wounds sorrow and love flow mingled down for such undeserving rebels. Remember His affliction.

Remember His imputation — A double imputation. That is, on the cross, Jesus bore my sins. He is my propitiation. He became sin — not just in the abstract — but He became my sin. My sins were laid upon the spotless Lamb. My track record was accounted to Him.

He, the righteous one, treated as a sinner in my stead. But the second imputation presses even further.

Jesus in His humanity was righteous. He was obedient to every jot and tittle fulfilling the Law of God perfectly in every way. And by grace alone through faith alone His righteousness is mine. He is credited with my sins and I am credited with His righteousness — it is imputed to me because of His work.

There is more we could say here, of course, but we dare not forget the humanity of Jesus. As we live in chaotic and wicked times, we must remember that Jesus entered into this fallen world taking on real human flesh with a real human mind, heart, soul, and will.

Cling to this gospel truth. Cling to His humanity. Cling to His merits. Cling to His work. Cling to His gospel.

And we must remember that no matter what happens in 2020 the God-Man still reigns. And God will judge the nations through the Man He has appointed who is coming back one day to execute His vengeance on the wicked and to save His Bride.

[1] Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 346.

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