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2 Timothy 2:11-13 and the doctrine of Perseverance

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(NKJV)2 Timothy 2:11-13

This is a faithful saying:
For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him.
If we endure, We shall also reign with Him.
If we deny Him, He also will deny us.
If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.

This is actually a very interesting scripture. I hope you'll take the time to investigate it with me. Let's have a look at the first verse:

"For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him."

Compare this to Romans 6:4-11

Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,
knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin.
Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him.
For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.
Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

A Christian, is already dead to their sins. A Christian, at the moment of belief, is freed from sin, to quote the scripture, "once and for all", in Jesus Christ.

The next part, "If we endure, We shall also reign with Him.".

Compare this to 1 Corinthians 3:14

If anyone's work which he has build on it endures, he will receive a reward.

And Revelation 21:24

And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honour into it.

The new heaven and the new earth contain nations of the saved - and those nations have kings. What do you suppose governs God's decision as to who is a member of the nations of the saved, and who is a king of the nations of the saved? "If we endure, we shall also reign with Him". If we endure, righteous and holy in this life, our works surviving the purifying fire, we have a reward which is a crown of righteousness.

2 Timothy 4:7-8

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

In keeping the faith we are rewarded with a crown, to "reign with Him".

Next up comes the part that seems the most obviously in favour of the doctrine of apostasy; "If we deny Him, He also will deny us."Taken on its own, this can only mean one thing. If we deny Christ we wont be saved. There are many other such scriptures, take for example,

Luke 12:9

"But he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God".

Matthew 10:33

"But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven."

So the question here is two-fold; what constitutes a denial of Christ and is it possible for a Christian [who we know to have already died and been risen again with Christ]?

I believe that, in all three contexts, the "denial" refers to non-belief; to those who are never saved, and the reason for that is in the next part, which we will get to.

But compare the "denial" used in Matthew and Luke here with the description in John 3:18-19,

"He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil"

That point is contentious, particularly when taken in exclusion of the following. However when you include the final part; "If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself." How are we to reconcile the two together if the denial spoken of is not the unbelief of sinners?

We find the reconciliation in John 10:24-30

Then the Jews surrounded Him and said to Him, "How long do You keep us in doubt? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly."
Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe.* The works that I do in My Father's name, they bear witness of Me.
But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I have said to you.
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.**
And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.***
My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand.****
I and My Father are one."

*The Jewish people here are denying Christ. He told them, they did not believe. Christ then even denies them, they are not His sheep. They denied Christ, Christ denied them.

**Compare this with Romans 8:29-30 - For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified, and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

His sheep hear His voice because God has called, justified and glorified them by conforming them to the image of His Son - or in a different way, has imputed Jesus' life on those whom are saved.

***No one can snatch His sheep out of His hand - that includes His sheep.

****This is really the core issue here, and it is not the substance of salvation [what we do once we're saved], but rather the very method of salvation. The doctrine of perseverance sits firmly on the relationship between Father and Son, rather than the relationship between mankind and God. Jesus' sheep are given to Jesus by the Father. Read again Romans 8:29-30. The entire process is one done by the Father, for the Son.

We are given to the Son, by the Father, as the Son's reward for the Son's obedience. This is why we cannot lose our salvation, and this is made clear in the final verse I quoted at the beginning: "If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself."

If [after we have believed] we are faithless, He remains faithful [to the promise of salvation]; He cannot deny Himself [and our salvation is a promise from Father to Son].

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