If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself. 2 Timothy 2:11-13 ESV
Our human nature seeks the quick fix. We want the path of least resistance, the easy way out. So we’ve convinced ourselves that walking an aisle or praying a magic prayer ensures our salvation.
But what if there’s more? What if 1 Corinthians 4:2 actually means what it says?
Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. (NIV)
Beloved, what if professing faith in Jesus Christ is more than just a simple, one-time commitment? What if what matters most isn’t how we begin but how we finish?
Consider Paul’s words to Timothy, found in our opening scripture.
If we endure, we will also reign with him.
Jesus also declared on two separate occasions while describing the difficulties that will come in the world,
“But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” Matthew 10:22, 24:13
The writer of Hebrews agreed.
For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. Hebrews 10:36
Do you notice the consistent theme popping up in these verses, beloved? You and I need to endure. It doesn’t matter how sincere we thought we were when we started. Even Judas appeared sincere to the other disciples. What matters is how we finish the race.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7
Paul didn’t write those words for his own benefit, dear one. The Holy Spirit inspired them. God sent a message through Paul to penetrate our hearts with truth. Finishing well matters.
I used to wonder at the meaning of Philippians 2:12-13.
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. (emphasis mine)
What does it mean to work out our salvation—especially with fear and trembling? Doesn’t God Himself do the work when we believe?
The answer, of course, is yes. Jesus completed the work of salvation through the cross. And we can only access that salvation through faith. We can’t earn it.
But what you and I need to work out, dear one, is whether the faith we claim to have in Jesus is real, biblical faith. We must ask ourselves: Is God obviously at work within us?
1 John 2:19 reveals an important truth.
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.
True believers—held in the hand of our Savior—will not depart from Him. We can’t, because God Himself is at work in our hearts directing our wills to align with His pleasure (Philippians 2:13).
What proves the sincerity of our faith, beloved, is whether we endure when things get hard. Our challenges reveal the true condition of our hearts—and who really governs them.
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:6-7
The next verse reveals the key to genuine faith.
Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory. 1 Peter 1:8
Authentic biblical faith will endure because it’s grounded in love. It doesn’t come from duty or a desire to earn grace. Love returned to Jesus for the great sacrifice He made will keep us from falling away.
We may falter at times. We may stumble. But Jesus will always remain faithful to keep us because we are His. He holds us, calls to us, instructs us, and guards us, enabling us to endure.
That’s what 2 Timothy 2:13 means when it says,
If we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself.
When our faith is grounded in love, we don’t just belong to Him. We’re a part of Him. And Jesus will never deny Himself.
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. James 1:12