“Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you – guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.” 2 Tim 1:14
We need to be jealous about the gospel. There are too many occasions where the devil tries to water it down. Where we attempt to add something that we feel would be of value. Rather like Peter wanting to build shelters when Jesus was shown in his incarnate glory on a mountain (check out Mark 9:5). We must balance the call to fire salvoes at the enemy, and also the ‘arrows of the gospel’, and the inward call to commune, to eat and drink of the Saviour. Which is what this verse is about.
Notice I have gone back a little, as I’m afraid I haven’t finished my studies in 2 Timothy yet…some of the best verses still to come! So here Paul is encouraging Timothy by reminding him that he has the Holy Spirit to guard over the treasure of faith and life that he has received, in the context of preservation of the faith, and in the interests of Christ. He goes on to refer to saints who have let him down, so the context of ‘guard’ may include that of a warning that it is possible to let it slip and slide, as others have done.
The phrase ‘good deposit’ is simply a ‘good thing’, or fine and worthy treasure, in the Greek. It is valuable in the fact that it is effective and well-deployed. The word for ‘lives’ referring to the Holy Spirit, or the breath of God, is the same word that is used in 2 Tim 1:5 for the faith that ‘lives’ in Timothy. In Ephesians 2:22 it speaks of the church becoming a ‘dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.’ There is the sense of permanence, of residence, about it. The Holy Spirit has made his home in us. The word ‘entrusted’ is a word of faith – we have received a responsibility when we received the gospel. Just like the runners with the Olympic torch who will carry it round the country, we must not fail in our small part in the whole.
So from this verse we learn:
1st, that what Timothy has received is a treasure, a fair and lovely thing
2nd, that this treasure has been entrusted to Timothy as a deposit
3rd, that as it has been entrusted there is a responsibility to watch over it
4th, that the Holy Spirit lives in each of us
5th, that it is the Holy Spirit living in us who will watch over the treasure
6th, that the Holy Spirit will help us collectively to guard the treasure as he lives in each of us
Other relevant verses:
2 Cor 5:19-20 speaks of us having received the word of reconciliation. We are the ambassadors with the terms of peace, going to the hostile army and saying: “Look, these are God’s terms of peace. You must accept him as your Lord and Saviour, and he will forgive your sins, on the basis of Jesus’ death and resurrection.” Romans 8:11 says: “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.” That’s a pretty powerful person living inside us! He will be an extremely diligent and devoted guardian of the treasure we have, if we let Him.
Ephesians 5:18 says “Do not be drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit.” Many remark on the negative instruction in the first half of this verse. Perhaps the injunction in the second half is as important? Are you filled with the Spirit today? The Greek word in that verse refers to ‘that which is put in to fill up’. It is the aim of the Holy Spirit to totally immerse you in Himself. We know, as my pastor reminded us on Sunday, that Christ is in us (as in Col 1:27) but we equally know that we are in Christ (Col 2:6).
A day in which the Holy Spirit has not been filling you up is a wasted day. A day in which he has not strengthened and increased the deposit in you is a wasted day.