Indwelling in 2 Timothy: Gospel Faithfulness

2 Timothy 1:4 states the following, “By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.”

Paul’s letter to Timothy is concerned with doctrinal fidelity and gospel centrality in the pastoral context. Paul practices what he preaches as he passes on what he has learned to faithful men (2 Tim 2:22).

Paul is making a disciple of Timothy. He opens his letter with a lofty exhortation grounded in the rich truth of indwelling. In essence he states, “Timothy you have been tasked with protecting the message of the God-man who has come, died, and rose for our salvation. The Holy Spirit dwells in you and this is how you will accomplish your task.”

The Spirit takes up residence in believers for many reasons. In this text, his permanent residence in Timothy is connected to faithful ministry.The Holy Spirit is devoted to safekeeping the message of Christ. This means he is strongly opposed to any false doctrine that would challenge the claims of Christ’s person and work.

His indwelling work aids the pastor by infusing the same passion and devotion to doctrinal faithfulness. The Spirit protects the “good deposit” in and through the leaders of the church.

One important implication of this truth is that the Spirit will labor within every believing individual to insure they hold fast to the central claims of Christianity.The Spirit is fully aware that salvation depends on sound doctrine. Trusting a very specific individual who has done a very particular work is a salvific necessity.

Yet again the doctrine of indwelling is pastoral in nature. This time, however, we learn how indwelling equips and empowers the pastor for his unique task and calling.

The Perfect Pastor

The second thing that I have learned from 1 Peter 5:1-6 comes from the title given to Jesus: the Chief Shepherd. I have not given a lot of thought to Jesus as pastor, but this text points us in that direction. I think this designation for Jesus gives us a fresh and wonderful look into his character and work on our behalf. What sort of glory do we see in Jesus when we recognize him as our perfect pastor?

  • He became a man to gather his sheep. He was born to be a pastor.
  • He bought the church with his own blood. It was his pastor’s heart that drove him to the cross to purchase all his sheep. He is a pastor who bleeds for his flock.
  • He is the chief/head pastor of the church. This means that the church is under his ownership, authority, direction, and care. The church belongs to no one but Jesus.
  • He is the perfect exegete and preacher of Scripture. He always understood accurately and proclaimed faithfully the word of God. He never failed in his calling as a preacher. In this vein he is also the perfect hearer of God’s word. He always understood and obeyed what God said.
  • He is the best pastoral counselor there has ever been (I take the Spirit’s role of counseling to be a continuation of Christ’s work—he is another paraclete fulfilling the work of the Son—he is the Spirit of Christ doing Christ’s bidding, taking of Christ’s and giving to us). He fully understands and sympathizes with all our weaknesses. He is filled with wisdom instruct us. He is filled with compassion to comfort us. He is filled with grace to forgive us. He is filled with power to bring about transformation.
  • He constantly and consistently prays for us and his prayers are always effective and powerful because he is the truly righteous man whose prayers availeth much.
  • As the perfect pastor he stands to justify every undershepherd that strives to imitate him. He is the perfect righteousness of every preacher. Preaching, counseling, praying, studying, and writing do not make one right with the Father—the perfect pastor does
What other things come to your mind when you think about Christ, the perfect pastor?