2 Timothy 2:10  Therefore, I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

If we instantly knew the meaning behind difficult verses, there'd be no reason to ever study God's word.   Paul has a lot of scripture that even Peter describes as difficult. “2Pe 3:16  As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.”  If Peter, with his insight and gifts, found some verses tough to parse, how careful should we be?

You’ve heard the story of the boy explaining how to carve an elephant?  “Start with a block of wood, and cut away everything that doesn’t look like an elephant." 

By cutting away, or establishing what this verse isn’t teaching, we can better understand what it is saying.

Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes once has his detective character confess “When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”                                          

We eliminate the impossible as a starting point.  Paul, the faithful, yet long dead Apostle, does not play a part in the eternal salvation of any of the elect.

Hopefully, given that wall which we cannot pass, that indisputable fact, we can examine the verse again in a different light:   Therefore, I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

Does Paul today ensure all things for your sake today?  He does not.  He was speaking about the elect children of God in His day and age, many of whom he knew personally.

How does Paul enduring all things for their sakes ensure that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ?  Having established two parameters, a) Paul was not enduring all things to ensure our eternal salvation and, b) he was speaking about and to the saints of his day, we can conclude the salvation Paul speaks of is not eternal.

Paul was enduring much suffering as a direct result of his efforts preaching the gospel.  The Spirit took him into many different locations and situations, and Paul described the adventures and hardships he endured.

2Co 11:23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool ) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.  :24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.

2Co 11:25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;

2Co 11:26  In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;  :27   In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.

2Co 11:28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.

Now, he’s in chains, bound in Rome not knowing what or when his end might be.  And he’s ensuring that even with his suffering, the saints are encouraged not to give up, to press on in spite of difficulty, to further the gospel and be the same kind of example he is for others.  These are the things Paul endured for the sake of the elect, that they might learn of the salvation in Christ, which end is eternal glory.

The saints, the elect, who will in the future hear and learn and obtain blessings from the knowledge of what Christ has done or them, today hear the gospel proclaimed in large part because of what Paul has endured in his efforts, in his lifetime, by passing these things to faithful men that they “may teach others also.”

2Ti 2:2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also  :3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

We say this often, but it bears repeating:  What good is your eternal salvation in this lifetime if you don’t know about it?  If you are unaware of what Jesus has done for you, how can you rejoice in a lively hope and obtain that salvation?  The salvation itself, Paul tells us, is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.  Paul wants our rejoicing to start in this lifetime.

Rom 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Brother Royce Ellis