4 min read

Faithful Sayings (part 5)

Faithful Sayings (part 5)
“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.”
2 Timothy 2:11-13

A form of “This is a faithful saying…” was used by the Spirit five times as Paul penned First and Second Timothy, and Titus. These sayings are highlighted as dependable statements that are faithful (always true) and therefore worthy of always being accepted. The first three have been pretty straightforward: “…Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners…” (1 Ti 1:12); “If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work” (1 Ti 3:1); and “…bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things…” (1 Ti 4:8-9).

The fourth faithful saying dares to contrast us with God, challenging us to see what God offers us, what we will lose if we deny Him, and that there is nothing that can change these because God does not change.


The first three faithful sayings appear in First Timothy. First Timothy is a letter to a young preacher telling him how to behave in the household of God (1 Ti 3:15). This involved both his teaching and godly living. This fourth faithful saying appears in Second Timothy. This letter seems to be more personal, where Paul talks about his own work in the gospel and Timothy’s. There are words of encouragement, and he urges Timothy not to be ashamed of the gospel or be afraid of suffering for Christ. There is a tender farewell speech at the end (4:6-7).

Chapter 2 begins: “…my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2:1) and urges him to keep teaching others, who will also then teach others (2:2). He reminds Timothy of the foundation of the gospel: Christ’s resurrection (2:8), and then Paul says that it is his teaching on this that has him in chains (prison): “but the word of God is not chained” (2:9). Paul sees his suffering to be worth the salvation others obtain from his preaching. This is when he says…

The Fourth Faithful Saying…

“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.”
2 Timothy 2:11-13

There are several related components to this “faithful” or “trustworthy” saying. The first reliable statement is:

“…if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him”
Notice that he’s not saying that IF we die (in the future) with Him, he’s saying if we DID, in the past, already die with Him, “we shall also live with Him.” This isn’t talking about risking or even losing our physical lives for Christ. This is dying to sin like Romans 6 talks about. This is dying to self (humility) and dying to sin (repentance). When life gets difficult and we face physical suffering and loss for Christ, we need to be reminded that we already gave up everything and died “with Him.” What more can this world take from us? What is the real threat? And since we’ve already died with Christ, as God raised Him up, so “we shall also live with Him”! Our certainty about this changes everything!

“If we endure, we shall also reign with Him”
The Lord and the Scriptures have never hidden the fact that faithful following of the Lord’s will requires endurance. The word “endure” here is often translated “patient” or “longsuffering.” Vine’s Dictionary says it is “’to abide under, to bear up courageously’ (under suffering)” (pg 200). During hardship and suffering we need the reminder, the faithful saying, that it is always completely worth it to endure. When we wonder or begin to doubt whether we should remain faithful at all cost, the Spirit wants us to remember this saying. It is so trustworthy (faithful) that it is absolutely certain. And what makes it so helpful during hard times? “If we endure, we shall also reign with Him.” It’s reigning with Him in the presence of God that makes the enduring worth it. In fact, Paul told the Romans: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Ro 8:18). Some problems and suffering can’t be avoided – so patiently push (endure) through it. What’s on the other side is worth it!

“If we deny Him, He also will deny us”
The alternative to endurance is denial. Denying Jesus. Denying His will for us by disobedience is denying Jesus. It’s tempting to deny Him when the world or false religion pressures us to conform to their will. It’s tempting to imagine that God will understand and accept our compromises and rejections of His will and Son. But, the reality is – the really true, faithful saying is – “If we deny Him, He also will deny us.” It sounds harsh, but what God has offered is truly incredible and if we say we don’t want it by denying it and God, then we are not the kind of people who God wants. It’s about Who God is. It’s about His character.

“If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself”
People convince themselves that if they don’t believe in God and that He is true to His word, then He isn’t. It can be repeated so many times that we can think it is reality, but it doesn’t change anything. “If we are faithless” God still “remains faithful.” If we think He doesn’t exist, doesn’t keep His promises, or won’t judge sin – God remains faithful to who He is and what He has promised and said He will do. The faithlessness of man doesn’t change God. And if we think God will somehow change to accept faithless and sin, remember: “He cannot deny Himself.” God is truth, righteous, holy, pure, love, all powerful, all knowing, unchanging… - He cannot deny or change Himself!