2 Timothy 1:7 (WEBBE): For God didn’t give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control.

Last week we started looking at the verse that is the main theme for this blog at the moment: 2 Timothy 1:7. The focus was on the first part of the verse – the fact that fear is not from God.

In the rest of the verse, we see that God did give us not just one but three things instead: power, love and self-control. So much can be said about each of these. I intended to write about self-control first. But then God showed me that the original order of the words in the verse is significant. So, lets start with power.

The Greek word for power in this verse is δύναμις (dunamis). It is ability power – the power to do something. So I did a search for δύναμις, and I found a verse that explains when this ability power was made available. These are the words of Jesus just before He was taken up into Heaven:

Acts 1:7-8 (WEBBE): 7He said to them, “It isn’t for you to know times or seasons which the Father has set within his own authority. 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you. You will be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth.”

On the day of the Pentecost this promise was fulfilled, and the people gathered together were filled with the Holy Spirit (read Acts 2). Notice that there was no end date in that promise, no “the power will only last for the next year” or anything like that.

Was the indwelling of the Holy Spirit meant ONLY for those present on the day of the Pentecost? Certainly not! In his first letter to the assembly in Corinth (which is located in Greece), Paul wrote these words:

1 Corinthians 3:16 (WEBBE): 16Don’t you know that you are a temple of God, and that God’s Spirit lives in you?

Yet people have somehow become convinced that this ability power is no longer for today. I have asked God for a scripture that specifically deals with this. And then recently I received a very powerful and specific scripture: 2 Timothy 3:5.

In this case, the context is quite important, so I am quoting first five verses of that chapter. The heading in the King James Version is “Godlessness in the Last Days”. Don’t become so disheartened about society as you read these verses that you miss the important part in verse 5.

2 Timothy 3:1-5 (WEBBE): 1But know this: that in the last days, grievous times will come. 2For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3without natural affection, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, not lovers of good, 4traitors, headstrong, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5holding a form of godliness, but having denied its power. Turn away from these, also.

I am sure as you read these verses, you were nodding your head all the way to the end of verse 4. You could probably name numerous public figures and personal acquaintances that match each of these traits. Yes, we must be in the last days, this sounds so familiar!

But then in verse 5 Paul adds to the list people “holding a form of godliness, but having denied its power” (δύναμις). I was stunned when I first read this! How did we as a society arrive at the conclusion that Christianity without power is the norm and perfectly acceptable?

John 14:12 (WEBBE): Most certainly I tell you, he who believes in me, the works that I do, he will do also; and he will do greater works than these, because I am going to my Father.

All the wonderful promises in the New Testament remain as true for believers today as for the early church. If only we would grab hold of them and act on them!