What does it mean “He cannot deny Himself”?

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By BibleAsk Team


2 Timothy 2:11-13 

The phrase God “cannot deny Himself” is found in Paul’s second epistle to Timothy. The apostle wrote:

“This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him. If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us. If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself“.

2 Timothy 2:11-13

Because of the rhythmic nature of this passage, some have believed that the apostle is quoting from an early Christian hymn or proverb. 

The believer’s faith is built on the truth that when specific God-ordained conditions are kept, He will fulfill His will in carrying out His part of the agreement. The apostle Paul here may refer to: (1) the new life of righteousness, which the Lord helps His children to live after baptism (Romans 6:5–11); or (2) eternal life in the new kingdom (John 3:16; 14:3).  

Jesus promised, “If we keep on enduring” (Matthew 24:13), we will reign with him (Romans 8:16, 17; Revelation 20:4; 22:5). Paul stresses the eternal view, so that the present distress and troubles will be seen as passing in the light of eternal blessings. 

But if the believers deny God, He will deny them. “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32,33). Christ may be denied in different ways, such as open rejection, silence when truth should be spoken, a pretense of loyalty hindered by a life that does not rightly represent the Son of God

He Cannot Deny Himself

Though people may fail God and dishearten their fellow men, believers may be sure that God is always worthy of their trust. “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19 also Psalms 89:35 also Titus 1:2).

God’s abiding presence never leaves men who put their faith in Him. Because of His very nature, the Lord cannot fail to carry on His promises (Numbers 23:19; Hebrews 6:18). Therefore, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:23). Since God is faithful and does not fail to fulfill His promises, Christians should also be faithful and not hesitate to accept Him.

God will be as faithful in punishing the sinners as He will be in rewarding the saints. God is just. Justice requires that wrong be punished. Sinners need to realize that a day of judgment for their wrong actions is coming (Ecclesiastes 8:11). No wicked person should believe that the Lord, in the final judgment, will alter His mind about His justice (Isaiah 13:11; Proverbs 11:21; Matthew 25:46). 

Summary

The apostle Paul, in this chapter, urges Timothy to remind the “faithful men” to be strong in faith (verse 2) and to hold on to the fundamental truths given in verses 8–13. For a clear knowledge of the believers’ privileges and duties towards God will strengthen them to endure to the end. “He who endures to the end shall be saved” (Matthew 24:13). God is worthy of the believers’ trust for He will fulfill all of His promises to them. And He is able to keep them from stumbling, and to present them faultless before the presence of His glory (Jude 1:24).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team 

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