I dare you to diagram the second epistle to Timothy, which he wrote from that prison, and find a single self-pitying line, except for the hint of loneliness, when he says, “Only Luke is with
me,” and, being cold, he asked Timothy for his cloak.
It rings with victory. He said, “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ”; apostle means “one
sent.” In that prison? Yes, in that prison.
He says, “the time of my departure is at hand. I’ve fought a good fight, I’ve kept the faith.” He
didn’t crack under the pressure: “I’ve kept the faith.” He might not understand the circumstance, but he understands his Lord. He says, “I know in whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”
Human beings that we are, we are prone to think that he was sort of hanging in there on
a promise of Heaven. That is not what Paul is talking about. He is talking about that which God delivered to him. On the Damascus road, God gave him a commission. He has been faithful in keeping that commission. Now with his ministry ended, it looks like nothing has been accomplished. The wheels roll on above his head and the Roman power rolls on and nobody seems to be listening.
He came to Rome to bring the power of God; and the power of Rome threw him in a hole.
Paul might have looked at his circumstance and said, “I’m a goner and it’s all lost.” He didn’t. He said, “I know in whom I have believed and I am persuaded, since it is the time of my departure, that He is able to keep that which I committed unto Him.” He gave the commission to me and I was faithful; and I gave it back to Him.
Well, all you have to do is watch the sun come up in Rome to know that God kept it. The Rome of ancient power is rocks and rubble, while the faith that Paul wrote about is
immortalized in church towers all over that city. Paul, from that prison, spoke the truth, “God can strengthen.”