It really bugs me when verses are taken out of context and misquoted. (But before I go on, let me confess.) I’m sure I’ve misrepresented verses myself. So, no judgement here. However, when the Holy Spirit, whose job it is to reveal truth, enlightens me, I have to correct myself and share with others. As a teacher of the Word, I want to handle it with certainty and clarity.
My heart longs to know truth especially when we live in an age that has no absolutions, and I know you do too. We find truth in the Word of God. It’s is our guide. It is our hope. The Word reveals God’s character and teaches us how to live. This is why it’s important to interpret scripture correctly.
One verse that is often misinterpreted is 2 Timothy 2:13.
“If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.”
I’ve heard many explain this verse (including myself) to mean that God is faithful to us even when we are unfaithful to Him. Is that true? I don’t think so. When this verse stands alone, I can see where some might get the idea that God is faithful even when we’re not. He is a good and gracious God. Yes! But He is also true—true to Himself—true to His Word.
The bible tells us God cannot lie. (Titus 1:2) He is a promise keeper. He never goes back on His word. He can’t. God is always true to Himself and His promises. If you’re a believer this is good news! If not, well, let’s just say your future looks dim. But, you can turn that around! I’ll tell you how at the end.
Back to 2 Timothy.
When we place verse thirteen back into context by taking into account verses elven and twelve, it clarifies verse thirteen for us. I invite you to read 2 Timothy and answer the questions below.
2 Timothy 2: 11-13
11 Here is a trustworthy saying:
If we died with him,
we will also live with him;
12 if we endure,
we will also reign with him.
If we disown him,
he will also disown us;
13 if we are faithless,
he remains faithful,
for he cannot disown himself.
- What kind of saying is about to be told? (verse 11)
- IF-we die with Jesus (surrender by faith) what else happens? (verse 11)
- IF-we endure (continue to trust God by faith) what happens? (verse 12)
- What if we disown Jesus, what is His response? (verse 12)
- HERE IT IS: IF- we are faithless, what does He do? (verse 13)
He remains faithful, right? Right. But to whom does He remain faithful to?God remains faithful to Himself because He cannot disown himself. He cannot go back on His word.
God, being true to Himself, will keep and fulfill His promises to those who have died with Him and endure until the end.
We see this same truth in Deuteronomy 7:9.
“Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations.”
To the one who loves and obeys God-who is faithful to Him-can take His promises to the bank. God has promised you His power and Presence. His undying love, grace and mercy. He has promised to keep you, protect you, comfort and lead you. One of my favorites is “he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” These are just the tip of the iceberg.
Pause and think of a time(s) when God has shown His faithfulness to you. It will increase your faith.
This is glorious news but what about the faithless? Opposite of the faithful, they are not included in God’s pledge. The faithless cannot reject Jesus, live anyway they wish and expect God to be faithful when they make a mess of their life. There is no vow that states God will be faithful to the faithless. Even worse. He will be unfaithful to them.
But there is hope!
If this describes you, turn from your unfaithfulness and turn toward God. Repent of your sin. Die to yourself by surrendering to Christ. Make Him your Lord and Savior and every promise is yours to the glory of God! That’s not all. You will live and reign with Him forever. It’s a promise!