I know whom I have believed. – 2 Timothy 1.12
Or “trusted,” as it is in the margin. And this is better, for the apostle is referring to an act of confidence rather than belief and which was expressed by his entrusting the Savior with a deposit, or committing his soul into His hands.
The knowledge of which he speaks is not only or principally the knowledge he had of the Lord before he believed in Him. He had, indeed, such a knowledge, and he must have had, for how can we believe in Him of whom we have not heard? Who would commit a jewel to a stranger? Who would walk over a deep abyss without enquiring whether the plank was sound or rotten? Ignorance, in such a case, would render confidence the act of a fool, whereas faith in Christ is wisdom. And, when a man commits his eternal all to Him, he has the highest reason in the world for so doing. This previous knowledge, however, is derived entirely from testimony.
But, there is, also, a subsequent knowledge derived from experience, and he who believes has the witness in himself. He knows the bitterness of gall and the sweetness of honey, not from report but from taste. My conscience, says he, was burdened, and I found no relief until I applied the blood of sprinkling. Without Him, I can do nothing, but I know that His grace is sufficient for me, for I have made trial of it, both in duty and in distress. I have read and heard much of His excellency and I have put it to the proof. He is now a tried friend and benefactor. I have tried – much, and often – His power, faithfulness, and care, and have found them trustworthy. I, therefore, feel satisfaction in reviewing what I have done. I have, often, been imposed upon and have played the fool, but not here. Of many things I have repented but, the longer I live, the less I am disposed to repent of this. I have examined it in the retirement of the closet, in the light of Scripture, in view of death and eternity and, the more I consider it, the more I approve and glory in the deed. And I will recommend the same to others. And I can speak with the boldness and earnestness of conviction, for I know whom I have believed.
And here, we see the value of this knowledge. It increases reliance and confidence. Hence, says David, “Those who know Your name will put their trust in You,” i.e., they will trust with more ease and more firmness. Whence arise many of the doubts and fears of Christians but from their living more upon their frames and feelings than upon the clear and full views of the truth as it is in Jesus? As soon as ever you have committed a valuable treasure to anyone, you become alive to his character. And, unless you are well-acquainted with it, every surmising, every loose report, every dark and unexplained circumstance may trouble and terrify the heart, even though the deposit may be secure. For though the safety of the deposit depends on the goodness of his character, your satisfaction depends upon your knowledge of it.
Let me, therefore, be concerned to grow in grace, and also – for this very purpose – in the knowledge of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Let me search the Scriptures, for they testify of Him. Let me attend His house and the preaching of His Word. Let me converse much with those who have been much with Him. Let me earnestly implore the influence of the Holy Spirit, who, says the Savior, “shall glorify Me, for He shall take what is Mine and shall show it to you.” Paul, after such a length of acquaintance and such a depth of intimacy, not only said, “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ, my Lord,” but “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable to His death.” – William Jay (1769-1853), English Congregationalist minister