Five Holdfasts
2 Timothy 1:6-14


Recently, I pulled out one of Pastor Henry Mahan’s old church bulletins (Thirteenth Street Baptist Church Bulletin — May 19, 2002). It contained several short articles about preaching and one titled “The Musing of A Pastor,” written by C. H. Spurgeon in 1878, I found it almost prophetic. Spurgeon wrote…

“I sometimes think if I were in heaven, I should almost wish to visit this congregation to see whether it will abide the test of time and prosper in the work of our Lord when I am gone. Will you keep to the truth? Will you hold to the grand old doctrines of the gospel? Or will this church, like so many others, go astray from the simplicity of its faith and set up gaudy services and false doctrine? God forbid it!”

When I read that short article, I immediately thought of Paul’s words to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:6-14. Paul was a prisoner at Rome. He knew that the time of his departure was at hand. Being very concerned for his son in the faith, Timothy, for the church of God, the glory of God, and the truth of God, knowing that this would be his last inspired epistle, his last word of instruction to God’s saints, he urged Timothy and urges us to remain faithful to the gospel. — “Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us” (vv. 13-14). In verses 9 and 10, as he describes that Gospel of which he urges us never to be ashamed, that gospel which is “the power of God unto salvation,” he specifically tells us five things to hold fast.

1. The gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation, is a message of pure, free, sovereign grace. — God “hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.

2. The gospel is a declaration of an eternally accomplished salvation. — This salvation was accomplished and all the grace of God was given to us “in Christ Jesus before the world began,” as the Holy Spirit tells us in Hebrews 4:3, “the works were finished from the foundation of the world” (Rom. 8:29-31; Eph. 1:3-6). This salvation and grace is in Christ Jesus. It was accomplished and bestowed upon us by the will of God in eternity in Christ our Surety, “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

3. This eternally accomplished salvation and grace was made manifest in and by the incarnation, obedience, and death of the Lord Jesus Christ, the God-man. — It “is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death” (1 Tim. 3:15-16). But salvation accomplished by the grace of God in eternity and accomplished by the work of Christ in his life, death, and exaltation is not all there is to salvation.

4. This great salvation is revealed and made manifest to every saved sinner by the gift of immortal life in Christ. — In the new birth, by the power and grace of his Spirit, our blessed Savior has “brought life and immortality to light” in us by the revelation of Christ and the forming of “Christ in you, the hope of glory,” causing chosen, redeemed sinners to be made “partakers of the divine nature.

5. And this he does “through the gospel,” by the preaching of the gospel, by which he gives the blessed gift of faith in Christ. — Let us hold fast that form of sound words. Let no man move you from those things God the Holy Spirit taught us in the beginning, concerning the Father’s accomplishments of grace in eternity, Christ’s accomplishments of grace at Calvary, and the Holy Spirit’s accomplishments of grace in us.