2 Timothy 2:8 Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David, as proclaimed by my gospel, 9for which I suffer to the extent of being chained like a criminal. But the word of God cannot be chained! 10For this reason I endure all things for the sake of the elect, so that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.…
Paul says that he is in chains for proclaiming the Gospel and he says that the word cannot be chained and that is why he endures so that others may obtain salvation. I take then, the Word of God here specifically means the Gospel. There is a conundrum here because Paul says the word cannot be bound and it will be preached. Yet it can be bound and in the past it has been and sometimes it can be bound among us. Remember God’s will will be done but we pray in the Lord’s Prayer that it may be done among us as well. The letters of the New Testament are written it seems to me, from the vantage point of trying to correct situations where the word was bound. Can we bind the word and if so how?
“Therefore if sin makes you anxious, and if death terrifies you, just think that this is an empty specter and an illusion of the devil – which is what it surely is. For in fact there is no sin any longer, no curse, no death, and no devil, because Christ has conquered and abolished these things. Accordingly, the victory of Christ is utterly certain; the defects lie not in the fact itself, which is completely true, but in our incredulity. It is difficult for reason t o believe such inestimable
blessings. In addition, the devil and the sectarians – the former with his flaming darts (Eph. 6:16), the latter with their perverse and wicked doctrine- are bent on this one thing: to obscure this doctrine and take it away from us. It is above
all for this doctrine, on which we insist so diligently, that we bear the hate and persecution of Satan and of the world.” So said Luther in his lectures on Galatians and here he describes a way that the Gospel can be bound among us – when we obscure the meaning of the Gospel and falsify doctrine.
We can obscure the meaning of the Gospel when Jesus becomes the motivator for the Christian life and not the source and substance of the Christian life. We can bind the Gospel when the Christian life is composed as a list of ethical guides. Someone warned about vegetable sermons – “lettuce do this or lettuce do that”. There is a lot of that going on today.