John_Chrysostom“It is a faithful saying: for if we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him: if we suffer, we shall also reign with Him” (2 Timothy 2:11–12).

Many of the weaker sort of men give up the effort of faith, and do not endure the deferring of their hope. They seek things present, and form from these their judgment of the future.

When therefore their lot here was death, torments, and chains, and yet he says “they shall come to eternal life,” they would not have believed, but would have said,

“What are you promising? When I live, I die; and when I die, I live? You promise nothing on earth. Will you give it in heaven? You do not bestow little things. Do you offer great things?”

That none therefore may argue thus, he places beyond doubt the proof of these things, laying it down beforehand already, and giving certain signs.

For, “remember,” he says, “that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead”; that is, rose again after death.

And now showing the same thing he says, “It is a faithful saying,” that he who has attained a heavenly life, will attain eternal life also.

Whence is it “faithful”? Because, he says, “If we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him.” For say, shall we partake with Him in things laborious and painful; and shall we not in things beneficial?

But not even a man would act thus, nor, if one had chosen to suffer affliction and death with him, would he refuse to him a share in his rest, if he had attained it.

But how are we “dead with Him”? He means both the death that takes place in the  baptismal laver, and that which consists in sufferings.

For he says, “Bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus” (2 Cor. 4:10); and, “We are buried with Him by baptism into death” (Rom. 6:4); and, “Our old man is crucified with Him”; and, “We have been planted together in the likeness of His death(Rom. 6:5, 6).

But he also speaks here of death by trials: and that more especially, for he was also suffering trials when he wrote it.

He says, If we have suffered death on His account, shall we not live on His account? This is not to be doubted. “If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him.”

He does not say “we shall reign” absolutely, but “if we suffer,” showing that it is not enough to die once (the blessed man himself died daily). but that there was need of much patient endurance; and especially Timothy had need of it.

For tell me not, he says, of your first sufferings, but that you continue to suffer.

John Chrysostom (c.347-407): Homily 5 on St Paul’s Second Epistle to the Timothy.