by Brad Bell
The emphasis of GES can be distilled to two essential elements. These elements are succinctly summarized in 2 Tim 2:11-13:
This is a faithful saying:
For if we died with Him,
We shall also live with Him.
This is the Gift. Unconditional.
If we endure,
We shall also reign with Him.
If we deny Him, He also will deny us.
This is the Reward. Conditional.
If we are faithless,
He remains faithful;
He cannot deny Himself.
This is the Gift reassured.
And the reward.
That’s it. The essence of what we communicate.
The gift is everlasting life, we shall also live with Him. What is everlasting life if not unending life with Jesus? Paul assumes the if clause (if we died with Him) to be true for the basis of his argument. Everlasting life is a done deal for those who have been identified with Jesus’s death.
Paul then discusses the reward: reigning with Him.
Co-reigning, co-kinging one might say, with Jesus.
Jesus will have a literal kingdom in which he reigns. He wants us to be servants in it. Our role in that Kingdom depends on our faithfulness now. If we are unfaithful he may deny us, not rejecting us from entrance to His Kingdom, but from service.
Paul then returns to the gift. Even if we are unfaithful, whether it be in doctrine or action, he is faithful. He cannot deny himself.
The gift depends only on the faithfulness of the Giver.
The reward depends on our faithfulness now.
The gift, in this passage, is unconditional as regards those who have received it. The reward is conditioned on faithfulness.
To quote Zane Hodges:
There was, in fact, more than one way of “denying” one’s Master. The denial could take a verbal form and involve an unwillingness to confess Him and identify with Him before men. Or one could deny Him by works that were unsuited to a Christian profession (Titus 1:16).
In either case our denial would be appropriately recompensed by His denial of us. Not, of course, a rejection of our status before Him as redeemed and justified people. That kind of denial would touch the question of His own faithfulness.
But the kind of denial experienced by the unfaithful servant in the parable of the ten minas was all too solemn a possibility. This was not a rejection of this man’s position in the family of God. It was rather a rejection of his role as a servant. Since that role had not been carried out during his earthly life, it could not be carried out in the kingdom either.
Grace in Eclipse
We exist to proclaim the simple message that Jesus offers everlasting life to all who would believe Him for it and to encourage those who have received the gift to pursue the reward.