2 Timothy 2:15
"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth."
It is necessary to know the definition of shame to understand what Paul is saying in this passage. Shame is a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming or impropriety. Paul commands his true child in the faith (1 Timothy 1:1), his beloved and faithful child in the Lord (1 Corinthians 4:17), to make every effort to have a clear conscience —without guilt or shame when he presents himself to God. In 2 Timothy 1:3 Paul makes a point of having a clear conscience, "I thank God whom I serve...with a clear conscience."
In 2 Timothy 1, Paul speaks of not being ashamed on three separate occasions. In verse eight, Paul instructs Timothy not to be ashamed of the testimony (the gospel) about the Lord or the fact that he is in prison because of faithfully proclaiming that testimony. An interesting side note from today's reading: the testimony given to King Joash in 2 Kings 11:12 is the same word Paul uses here. The testimony was a copy of the law each king of Israel was to write for themselves in Deuteronomy 17:18.
Paul, in verse 12, says he is not ashamed of the Lord because He can protect both Paul and the testimony He entrusted to him. In verse 16, Paul reminds Timothy that Onesiphorus was not ashamed of him being in prison for faithfully preaching the Gospel.
Paul is repeating himself in these passages. Look at the words Paul uses to describe Scripture: testimony (v 1:8), gospel (v1:8), what our Savior Jesus Christ entrusted to me (v 1:12), and the word of truth (v 2:15). He is saying, "Don't be ashamed of the Word of the Lord, I am not, and neither is Onesiphorus, even though I am in jail for proclaiming the Gospel of Christ Jesus. Timothy, make every effort to not be ashamed before God by treating His Word properly."
Paul has a good reason for his redundancy on this subject. In Luke 9:23-27, Jesus describes the requirements of discipleship: deny yourself, take up your cross and then follow Him. Jesus goes on to explain the consequences of this decision as a life either saved or lost. Those who chose to follow Jesus have life. Those who prefer their own life will receive death. Jesus says to think of this decision as a profit and loss analysis. What is the benefit of having the whole world if you lose yourself?
Jesus follows His discussion of how to have life with a statement Paul must have been mindful of as he wrote Timothy. "For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels" Luke 9:26.
Paul's concern for Timothy is relevant for all believers. In Romans 1:16 he says, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes." Paul's inference in the phrase "not ashamed" is "I am proud of the gospel." That is what Paul wanted of Timothy and of us, to be proud of the testimony of the gospel, what Jesus entrusted to us, His Word of truth.
Hebrew 11:16 describes those who are faithful, "They desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city."
Lord Jesus, Savior and King, You and Your word are life. Why would I ever be ashamed? May I be proud to proclaim both whatever the cost. Inclusion with those who God is not ashamed to be called their God is what I want.