13 Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you. 15 You are aware of the fact that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes. 16 The Lord grant mercy to the house of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains; 17 but when he was in Rome, he eagerly searched for me and found me 18 the Lord grant to him to find mercy from the Lord on that day—and you know very well what services he rendered at Ephesus. 2 You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
Being a follower of Christ is not easy. Some believe it is about being a robot slave to the church, feeling good about yourself because you do good things for others, and a fantasy dream for people that when they die, they will be in paradise. If you have read the least bit of any letters by the Apostle Paul, you will find that is not the case at all. In fact, it is impossible without the Holy Spirit in us. In verse 14 Paul refers to guarding the treasure within us through the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit of God in us that gives us the necessary tools we need. It is not of our own might or willpower that we succeed, but rather the Spirit of power, love, and discipline within us.
Paul gives Timothy examples here of what he is talking about through people who have run away in contrast to one who remained faithful. Note, however, that Paul isn’t saying that Onesiphorus was faithful just because of what he did for Paul, but what he did in response to Christ’s call to follow Him. Not only did he minister to Paul while in prison, but also served in Ephesus, where Timothy was when this letter was written. So what is so difficult about the Christian Way, anyway?
Be strong in grace. Grace doesn’t come naturally for humans. We have to work at it. The grace, love, and mercy that God poured out and continues to pour out upon us is not a human quality that is naturally occurring. It is the gift of God that dwells in us, through the Holy Spirit, that we are able to in turn give to others. Grace is the product of perfect love which dwells in us by the Spirit of God. Grace and mercy are the evidence of God’s love in our hearts.
This is the treasure that Paul calls us to guard in our hearts. These are the “things” that Paul tells Timothy to teach others about. This is the gift of God: that His love for us is greater than everything “bad” we have ever done. He loves us anyway. He loves you anyway. It is this love and mercy and grace that we must guard in our hearts and remain steadfast in because the world does not accept it and does not like it. The world is jealous for those who have it and because they cannot accept it, reject those who have it. What is your response?