Make certain that you know the meaning of certainty: “the quality of being reliably true; a fact that is definitely true or an event that is definitely going to take place; a person or thing that may be relied on; beyond the possibility of doubt.” (New Oxford American Dictionary)
In 2Timothy 1:12, Paul wrote of a number of things he knew for certain. He wrote: “For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.” The word know is the English word with which a number of Greek words are translated. The word know, as found here, is a word which means “to see” or “to have seen” or “to have perceived.” So, these things which he knew were things of which he was certain. These are times when so many things seem relative to so many people. However, Paul was certain of some things.
“That” He Believed
Paul was certain that he believed. There was no question in his mind about whether or not he believed. Because of this certainty he could tolerate whatever he had to suffer. He had just stated that he was made to suffer because of his appointment as a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. Yet, he could speak of the future with certainty. Are you certain that you believe? We can develop this certainty of faith if we so desire: hear His words (Romans 10:17).
“Whom” He Believed
Paul was also certain of whom he believed. He was certain that he believed in Christ. He was certain that Christ had abolished death and had brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. He was certain that he served the Lord Jesus, and we should, too: “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve” (Colossians 3:24). Today, so many of those in educational circles try so diligently to make us uncertain about these things. Of what value are all the certainties of science, economics, and such things if we are not certain of Jesus? Only Paul and those like him can sing with meaning the hymn:
“But I know whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that he is able,
To keep that which I have committed,
Unto him against that day.”
“What” He Had Committed
Paul was also certain as to what he had committed to Christ. Peter explained what it is that Christians commit to Christ. “Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right” (1Peter 4:19). Others have also made this commitment. “and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God” (2Corinthians 8:5). This is what we mean when we sing:
"Have thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way!
Thou art the potter, I am the clay,
Mould me and make me after thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.”
That He “Could” Trust Christ
Furthermore, Paul was Certain that he could trust the one in whom he had believed and to whom he had made his commitment. He said that he was persuaded that He was able. Hear this one speak of this certainty in other places: “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” (Romans 8:31). “But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21). Truly, Paul was certain that our God is able to deliver thee!
There “Will Be” A Day Of Judgment
Our text also shows clearly that Paul was certain that there will be a day of judgment for both good and bad. He had made his commitment in view of that day. He did not know when that day would be. James explained that no one knows when that day will be. “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’ Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away” (James 4:13-14). It really did not make much difference to Paul when that day came, for he longed for that time upon some occasions. All of us ought to be just as certain as anything that there will be a day of judgment. That certainty will enable us to be more nearly what we ought to be.
Can we say with Paul, “For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.”?