The Unchained Gospel

In doing some study I came across 2 Timothy 2:8-9.  I’m an NASB guy these days, but this just reads so much better in the old NIV:

Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained.

I have never before noticed v.8 as a unique, self-contained summary of the Gospel before.  What is the Gospel?  Jesus is the long-awaited, much-prophesied Messiah-Deliverer of Scripture; risen (resurrected) from the dead (crucified); and the Son of David, the ultimate heir of the promise of 2 Samuel 7:12-16 that the line and throne of David would be established forever.  Remember this Jesus.

This is the Jesus for whom Paul endures chains.  Imperial soldiers can confine Paul, the Message of the Cross cannot be contained.  In a related verse, Ephesians 6:20, Paul fleshes this out, that he is an “ambassador in chains,” but while his body may be restrained, the power of the Gospel proceeding from his mouth may never be.  He calls on the Ephesian readers to pray for him, that while his body is restrained his faith might produce boldness in his mouth to continue to proclaim the mystery of the Gospel.

The world may hate it; they may attack its messengers; but they cannot contain its power.  The Gospel remains forever unchained.  May we as its messengers be faithful to declare it.

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