2 Timothy 1:8-9  So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner.  But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life – not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.  This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, …

Paul’s instructions to Timothy here are just as relevant and applicable to us today as they were to this young follower of Jesus then.  Our dominating, toxic culture is doing all that it can to cause us to be ‘ashamed’ of the Gospel we have been commissioned by the Lord to proclaim (Matthew 28:18-20).  It  does this by militantly opposing us in the public domain, and by ignoring or mocking our ‘voice’ by writing us off as outdated and irrelevant.

In the light of this seemingly ‘powerful’ and ‘effective’ oppositional agenda, Paul reminds Timothy of some very important truths.

Firstly, whatever difficulties or suffering we face, it is ALL part of GOD’s all-powerful agenda for his world.  Paul might be in a Roman prison, but he is GOD’s prisoner; it is the loving and well-controlled and purposeful ‘POWER’ of GOD that is behind all his suffering.

Secondly, the living out of an obedient, ‘holy’ and God-honouring life that, in human terms, has LED to his suffering, is what we are ‘called’ to by God, and it flows from, rather than being the basis of, our belonging to God and participating in all the blessing that this means – we are saved by God’s GRACE alone – a fact which it is good for us to keep firmly in mind as we come, on Sunday, to the 504th Anniversary of the event that sparked the Protestant Reformation!

And thirdly, our Sovereign God has always had an eternal ‘Plan A’ for his world, and this Plan is centred on the perfectly completed, ‘finished’, work of Christ on the Cross (cf John 19:30), and NOTHING can ever frustrate the fulfilling of this Plan.

In the light of all this, why would the thought ever enter my head to be ASHAMED of being actively involved in it?!  (I’ll remind myself I just wrote this the next time I feel embarrassed about being a Christian or about standing up for the truth and power of the Gospel.)