We have been examining Paul’s exhortation to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:8. “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel…” We have already seen an exhortation to cling to Christ’s humanity. In the last post we were encouraged to cling to His divinity, victory, and prophecy. Today, I want to encourage us to:
Cling to His Exclusivity
All roads lead to God. But not all roads lead to God in the same way. Only one road leads to God in favor. Only one way leads to God in eternal joy. This is why Paul says to Timothy to remember Jesus Christ. All other ground is sinking sand.
The heart of the gospel is Christ Himself. As Ruth could not cling to Moab and Naomi simultaneously so too you cannot cling to the world and Christ together.
Cling to Christ alone. He is enough. Let not your eyes find all the shiny objects of this world lovely.
John Flavel wrote, “No hypocrite can bless God, and love him from his heart, when God smites him in his dearest enjoyments or nearest lusts; strike him in any thing that the eye or heart of him is upon, and he secretly hates Christ. Now a saint, in such a case, will cling to Christ; he cannot but love him for all that.”
When I take a splinter out of one of my children’s fingers, I do it in love. Yes, it hurts them initially, but when the splinter is removed, it is for their good and their joy.
The Lord loves us enough to smash our idols. When the Lord is kind enough to pull the idols from our hearts, cling to Him all the more for His grace.
A man shall not cling to his parents but to his wife. He must let go of the good, his parents, and cling to the greater, his wife. So too, there are good things to cling to that you must let go of for the sake of Christ.
Lay aside every sin. Lay aside every weight. And cling exclusively to Christ. There is no other way for the Christian life.
What are you holding onto today that you must let go of in order to cling to Christ?
Timothy should not use Christ as an addendum to his life and ministry. He should not use Christ along with gimmicks and quick fixes.
He should not use Christ as a way for people to get to a better treasure. Rather – Christ is the treasure.
And all other things must be laid aside in order to gain Christ. Even our good works!
Martin Luther once wrote: “all the monks and priests, and all that claimed to be holy, that were ever saved, had to creep out of their hoods and all their works, and cling to Christ.”
To cling yourself to Christ not only must we lay aside sin and worldliness but also our abilities. Our merits. Our work. It is only Christ. Christ alone is our only suitable and all-sufficient Savior.
Christ is the goal. Christ is the substance. Christ is the treasure. May 2020 remind us that we must crucify our dream. Our plans. Our goals. Even the good ideas we have for our children and grandchildren!
I don’t mean to say its not okay to have those things. It’s good to plan and it’s good to prepare. I simply mean to say that hands clinging to Christ don’t have room to hold onto other things. The tighter we are clinging to Christ, the less room we have to hold other things.
What do we do with those plans and goals and such then? Let Christ hold them if He will. And if He will not, we don’t need them.
Sovereign Love has better for us than those paltry things we’ve contrived by our fallen imaginations.
Too many don’t cling to Christ because they are afraid to let go of their own vision for how their life ought to go. But let us remember what Jonathan Edwards wrote, “He who has Christ has all he needs and needs no more.”
Christ and the Church
Of course, I’m not going to do a series on Jesus without taking an opportunity to talk about His Bride. Clinging to this exclusive Christ means we take our metrics for success in the local church, our ideas about ministry, the way we worship, all from Christ alone.
That is, the Scriptures are His Scriptures. Christ is head of the church and He alone is who dictates and mandates what we must be and what our churches ought to be.
What I mean is we don’t listen to the culture’s ideas. Or even the latest greatest study that says how to make the church better.
No, beloved. Cling to Christ and sit at His feet. God says “This is my beloved Son, Listen to Him.” Yes! Listen to King Jesus. This means if you’re clinging to Christ you’ll have a high view of His Bride. You will love the local church.
You see, clinging to Christ means that we are clinging to not only Him but by virtue, all that He holds dear. And He holds His local church very dear to His own blessed heart.
It is not a coincidence that the world is pressing the church today to remain closed. This is because the local church is essential to God’s plan for the nations. To cling to Christ means we believe Him in what He says is essential.
May Christ raise up a bold generation desperate for Him and willing to proclaim His truth courageously to a lost and dying world.
Let me close this series with a word of grace for you. In 2 Timothy 2:1 Paul tells Timothy, “You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus”.
Let the grace of the gospel strengthen you today. Let is wash over you again. Let it refresh your soul.
This blessed gospel means your sins are forgiven in Christ. Will you draw near our sweet and sovereign Jesus even now? Will you listen to Paul and Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David?
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God! Hope in Christ! There is grace for you this moment.
If the Lord is convicting you it is in His kindness to draw you to repentance. Won’t you? Repent again and cling to His unfailing promises in Jesus.
What idols or sins or worldliness ought you to lay down today? Lay it down, dear soul. And refresh yourself in the overwhelming grace of Jesus all over again even as you endeavor to cling to Him.
Let me also take a quick moment to remind our readers that the door of mercy stands open today for those who will repent of their sins and believe the gospel. If culture is your god, or sin, or self, you have an opportunity now to turn from your sins and find forgiveness in Jesus. But you must come to Him on His terms. You must repent of your rebellion and believe on Christ alone as your only suitable and all-sufficient Savior. Do so today.