God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7)
Timothy, to whom this Pastoral epistle was written was a young man. He was Paul’s protege. Still in prison, Paul’s hope of freedom was vanishing. He in fact was anticipating his execution.
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.(2Tim 4:6-8).
Timothy, who has been ordained into ministry “by the putting on of [Paul’s] hand”(2Tim 1:6) has a Herculean task of dealing with apostasy and false teachings which was rife then just as it is today.
Paul was therefore admonishing young Pastor Timothy to stand for truth.
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.(2Tim 4:1-3).
Standing for truth is a charge! It is a mandate! It is Scriptural! We can’t stand aloof watching God’s truth trampled under foot. It was John Calvin who said “A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw that God’s truth is attacked and yet would remain silent”.
Standing for truth first requires knowing truth. Before he will charge Timothy with preaching the word, Paul has hinted in the previous chapter that Timothy knows truth: “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus”(2Tim 3:14-15).
We obviously cannot take a stand for what we don’t know.
Secondly, truth cannot be kept to ourselves. Faith is not a private issue. Gospel truth is to be taught and passed on. Passing on truth includes reproving, rebuking and refuting falsehood. We cannot keep silent. When error is taught. It must be challenged.
Now in a culture where truth doesn’t sell and is not popular, standing for truth–reproving, rebuking and exhorting– requires courage, boldness and patience. In proclaiming truth, we can be intimidated. The possibility of this already happening in Timothy’s life can be inferred from 1 Tim 4:12 where Paul writes “Let no one despise you for your youth”.
Indeed the task of proclaiming truth in a super-subjective culture requires boldness from God’s Spirit. God’s truth must be proclaimed and it must be proclaimed by us. Let’s proclaim truth and refute falsehood with all boldness. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go”.(Joshua 1:9).