On Deposit with God
In his letters, Paul can sound very strong.
Like he’s the Iron Man or Captain Marvel of the Christian faith, blessed with a power well beyond the reach of us normal people. But his strength isn’t from himself, it is from the Lord God! Listen to Paul’s testimony in his second letter to Timothy (1:12),
For I know whom I have believed.
This was how Paul can be suffering in prison, and not be ashamed: he knows his God! The word ‘knowing’ here describes a close and intimate and living knowledge. This isn’t just knowing Bible texts off by heart. But this is knowing in your heart and in your life that God is yours, and you are his.
This is the knowledge that you gain by experience, where you have learned that God is fully trustworthy and totally capable. You have begun to see how God is busy in your life, so you love and fear him.
“I know whom I have believed.” There is so much you could say about God as the object of our faith. God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We could also mention his perfections, how God is eternal, incomprehensible, invisible, immutable, infinite, almighty, perfectly wise, just, and good. Who is God? The God in whom we believe is revealed to us in the 66 books of the Bible, and He is revealed to us in the creation and preservation of the universe.
We have only just started to learn about this God, because the width and depth and height of God’s character are ever beyond us. His love surpasses knowledge, says Paul in Ephesians. His ways are higher than our ways, says Isaiah. He is incomprehensible, not able to be fully grasped or known, yet always open to a deepening of fellowship with us. We have a lifetime of learning ahead, a lifetime of getting to know our triune God. This God is the One who gives us grace in Jesus, who conquered death and brought us to life. This is the great God in whom we have believed!
“I know whom I have believed.” The word ‘believed’ sounds like a verb in the past tense, but that’s not how Paul means it. For him, for us, faith is never in the past tense. True faith is ongoing, a daily and vital resting in God.
Maybe we can’t remember a time in our life when we didn’t believe in God. But we likely have seen our faith grow and mature. Today we pray that it will keep growing. Over time, faith deepens with love and insight into who God is and what He has done.
Because Paul knows God through Christ, he is immensely confident. You can really hear his confidence in 2 Timothy 1:12:
I am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to him until that Day”
It’s all in good hands, says Paul. God’s got this. He can keep what I’ve committed to him, until the very end.
But what is Paul talking about? What has he (or any Christian) entrusted to God? When he speaks about ‘committing’ something, he says literally ‘my deposit’—God will keep ‘my deposit’ until that Day. Paul might picture this as a man going on a long journey, and before he goes, depositing his most precious and valued possessions with a friend. It was a serious obligation to be given a person’s gold and jewels like this. You would do anything to remain faithful to this trust and one day to return the deposit intact.
Today we place our money on deposit at the bank, maybe even take out a safety deposit box for important papers and treasures. I used to have a safety deposit box, and it was always impressive to be escorted to the back of the bank, into the vault, past the massive steel door and heavy bars, and into a quiet room lined with locked boxes. One key, then another key, and finally my box was opened. After locking up again, you went home with confidence: my deposit is secure! It’s not going anywhere.
Paul is confident: “I am persuaded that God is able to keep what I have entrusted to him.” And by this he means his life, his very soul and spirit. When the apostle wrote this, he wasn’t going to be on earth much longer. Yet Paul has no doubt that God will keep him safe ‘til the very end. He will keep me!
We’re not in the same earthly position as Paul, but our standing before God in Christ is exactly the same. God has claimed us. He has given his sign and seal to us in baptism. God declared that we belong to him already long before we could form thoughts or speak or make commitments of our own.
God claims our life, but He also requires that we commit our life to him. That is the essence of life in the covenant: two sides, giving themselves to each other in love. We all must daily entrust our life to the LORD’s care and grace.
We want to commit our ways to God, asking him to guide us with wisdom. We try to commit our worries to him, asking him to relieve us and give us peace. We commit our plans and goals to him, praying for his blessing on what we do. We commit our futures to him, asking him to keep us loyal to him.
We place our life on deposit with God, and we trust that He will be faithful.
For as long as we live, we must fight against our tendency to rely on ourselves, to take charge of ourselves, to build an earth-based security. But we can trust in him, because we know him. So commit all things to him, and place your life in his hands. What we have committed to him, He will surely keep, for He is God.
We know whom we have believed, and we are persuaded that He can keep what we have entrusted to him until his great Day.