II Timothy 4: 16-18
Thank God for the deliverance we have through Jesus Christ from the power of darkness and from this present evil world. But His abounding grace provides yet another deliverance as set forth in our text today – “deliverance from every evil work” (v. 18).
In a day when there is much false teaching concerning what a believer may expect in this life, it is doubly important to find out what the Bible says about the walk and work of God’s children. The Christian’s future is glorious but the period between salvation and our being gathered unto the Lord is one of burdens as well as blessings. God says, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (II Timothy 3:12).
Today, many churches have been infiltrated by false teachers who twist the Scriptures and deceive Christians into believing that if they live for Christ they may expect health, wealth and popularity. As a result, when trials and testings do come (as they always will), such believers think there is something wrong with them. Instead, they should realize that God permits His children to experience trials and testings for their good and His glory.
The Apostle Paul – one of the greatest missionaries, pastors, teachers and evangelists who ever lived – did not expect, nor did he always enjoy, a bed of roses. In verse 16 we learn that in a time of special trial, no man stood with him – all men forsook him – he was left alone, humanly speaking. His faithful testimony stirred up evil men who did everything they could to silence his voice and discredit his message. Was something wrong with Paul? Of course not!
Through the years of his ministry, Paul had learned “in whatsoever state he was, therewith to be content” (Phil. 4:11); he knew that “Godliness with contentment is great gain” (I Tim. 6:6); and he knew that “if we suffer with Him we shall also reign with Him” (II Tim. 2:12).
But notice verse 17 where we find that, although men had forsaken Paul in his time of need, the most important One of all – THE LORD – was with Him! HE WILL ALSO BE WITH US! As a result, Paul was strengthened; his preaching ministry was greatly extended; and he was “delivered out of the mouth of the lion”.
Then, looking ahead, we can and do rejoice in the precious promises of verse 18 for future deliverance from every evil work and divine preservation unto His heavenly kingdom. How wonderful!