This I Know

September 212 Timothy 1:1–14

11And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. 12That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day. (2 Timothy 1:11–12)

Paul was a perfect example to remind us that the Christian life is not always easy. In fact, it often seems harder to be a Christian than not when we face persecution and trials. But, Paul was also a perfect example of one who had established a firm foundation for his life as a Christian. After talking of his suffering due to being faithful to his calling, Paul states that he’s not ashamed, “because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.”

When we look at this statement, we notice that Paul begins by declaring, “I know.” The word translated “know” means having an assured knowledge or being without a doubt. This kind of “knowing” comes, not through theory or thought, but through experience as we walk with the Lord. For Paul, Christianity was reality, not theory.

Philosophers ask what they can know and how they can know it. They often look inward for answers. Paul, however, looked upward! He looked to God and declared, “I know whom I have believed.” He links what he knows with what he believes. Faith is based on fact, not feeling. That is where we all must begin. You won’t truly believe and trust in someone you do not know. It would be hopeless for someone to accept Christ based strictly on an emotional response without any personal knowledge of Him. We can’t expect someone to love Christ who doesn’t know Him, nor would we expect anyone to obey Him until they know Him. Even among church members, we aren’t likely to serve wholeheartedly unless we can truly say, “I know whom I have believed!”

Know what you believe. Paul didn’t stop there, however. He goes on to use the phrase, “I am persuaded.” In other words, Paul didn’t just know. Paul knew that he knew that he knew! He was confident in his knowledge to the point that no one could move him. He was not like those he described later in 2 Timothy 3:7 who were “forever learning and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth.” Paul didn’t just know the truth; he knew the Truth! In the right sense, Paul dared to be dogmatic. He was persuaded that Jesus is the only Savior from sin and, on that assurance, he based everything else in his life.

So, based on his knowledge and assurance of the Truth, Paul’s foundation was cured with commitment. He declared that he was convinced that “that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.” Paul’s commitment was a practical commitment. On the basis of what he knew and was convinced of, Paul acted.

Too many people are tempted to let knowledge become an end in itself. In “A Grammarian’s Funeral,” Robert Browning wrote an epitaph for such a person: “This man decided not to live, but know; Before living, he’d learn how to live.” We should not stop at knowing or even at being persuaded; we must move on to committing our lives and everything in it to Christ.

Knowledge, persuasion, commitment — do you know whom you have believed in today? Make it real in your life today.