In the first half of 2 Timothy chapter 2 Paul gives several directives:
1. Be strong in the Grace of The Lord
2.Teach others The Gospel
3.Endure hardship as a good soldier for Chirst
4.Do not get entangled with this world
5.Seek to please The Lord
6.Be obedient to the commands of Christ
After Paul gives his analogies of these things, he follows up with this statement:
2Timothy 2:7 Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.
When we are born-again, The Lord gives us understanding in all things. Sometimes we are not ready to receive a “piece of the puzzle”, but as long as you diligently seek Him from a pure heart you will grow in Godly Wisdom.
Godly Wisdom eclipses any earthly wisdom you could gain. The wisdom of the flesh is confused about why a person would suffer “unnecessary” hardship. From the world's perspective, a man preaching absolute Truth is a “criminal”:
2Timothy 2:8-10 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
Throughout history, all the way back to the 1st Century, the world as tried to ban, burn and outlaw the Word of God. Yet It continues to be our only source of absolute Truth. Just as Paul states in verse 9, you can chain the messengers, but you will never chain The Word of God. You can kill the prophets, apostles and evangelists; but you will never kill The Word of God.
When you are convicted and convinced that The Word of God is absolute Truth you will endure anything for the sake of Christ. You will run the race set before you, just as Paul's race was to be “poured out as drink offering” for the sake of the elect, as stated in verse 10. But, did you catch the rest of that verse?
2Timothy 2:10a that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
Paul had already obtained salvation by the Grace of God and his faith in Jesus Christ; yet he was committed to run the race of suffering that some might be saved. Paul reasoned in the synagogues, he preached in the street, he preached in prison, he wrote letters, and who knows what else. There is no doubt that Paul probably won debates, but he didn't always win hearts. Some people are too prideful, stubborn and hard-hearted to receive The Gospel and be saved. Unfortunately, there is no way to read the Word and accurately conclude that everyone will be saved, or will have a second chance when they die. It's hard to get our mind around, it's troubling to consider, and it's sad to conclude; but people we love will wind up in hell.....but it wasn't from lack of effort from our Creator, Our Savior...could it be from our lack of effort in enduring all things to bring them the Truth?