“It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him:” (2 Timothy 2:11)
I like how Paul opens with the first part of the above. A “faithful saying”. Put differently you might say it’s something you can “bank on” (how interesting). Perhaps you might word it otherwise as a “trust issue”, yet another finance-oriented term, depending on how you look at it. But think of it as a game, something taking place within the confines of a set space and a set of rules. Rules that, God the Father Himself, however omniscient/omnipresent/omnipotent, abides by.
“If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him: if we deny Him, He also will deny us:” (2 Timothy 2:12)
But Paul here is talking to Timothy about Jesus Christ. Think about the Trinity. Jesus is a human, like you and I. But the Father is His own class of Being. One of a kind, actually. And yet He chose to reveal Himself to the world in the person of Jesus in order to both show love and atone for sin. These are the rules of engagement. Seen from the perspective of the Father (His vantage point—way up there where the light is a constant orange/blush color and it’s freezing cold—absolute zero—but you don’t feel it, the clouds drifting lazily by) it might look as if life’s a game. And the only reason I say this is because of what Christ has already said: “It is finished.” (John 19:30) He has won this game, the game of life. And yet, moving forward, it very well may look to be something the exact opposite of rule-based (seriously, how much of life is out of your control?) and, also, fun. What kind of God is this (see Psalm 115:3)? Who flouts convention and throws around lives and circumstances like so much dead weight, looking for someone to worship and love Him in return? Sounds like your garden-variety dictator/voyeur, shallow in personality and callow in real-world exposure. But this is what Paul points to when He references Christ’s sufferings. I mean, who doesn’t want to be up there? Free from the trappings of gravity and time? God is holy. He must “[abide] faithful”, as it says below, in order to keep this plane functioning correctly. Yet Jesus came and got His hands dirty, so we could experience a pleasant eternity. And all He asks that we do—whether we are entering the Kingdom for the first time or continuing on in a life of love—is “believe” (see John 6:29).
“If we believe not, yet He abideth faithful: He cannot deny Himself.” (2 Timothy 2:13)
If you’re reading this and perfectly content with your lot, your space—without God, more power to you. But know that Jesus and the Father are One. Along with the Holy Spirit, they form a complete picture of existence-as-a-sentient-being. While we are not God and never will be, we were created in His “image and likeness” (see Genesis 1:26-28) and the sufferings of Christ, provided you accept Him as the only way back to the Father, will ensure you get to taste what might be described as the purest Out of the Box experience a human could ask for. God cannot deny Himself, as it says above. And He cannot deny us when we deny ourselves under Christ. This is the source of all true confidence. Where the prize is under each of the shells, all the time. God reached down from His throne on High through the person of Christ so you could be up there with Him. Where the only air you need is the Holy Spirit.
“In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence: and His children shall have a place of refuge.” (Proverbs 14:26)