Giving and Keeping
John Heading, Aberystwyth
When we give something to someone else, it does not usually fall upon us to guard that thing afterwards!
However, with God things are different. In John 17. 23,24, the Lord Jesus speaks of the love that the Father had for Him, and it is a feature of love that love gives. Thus the Father gave Him authority, v. 2; work, v. 4; "all things", v. 7; words, v. 8; glory, v. 22. In particular, the Lord's disciples had been given Him from out of the world; seven times this is stressed, vv. 2, 6 (twice), 7, 9, 11, 12, 14. While the Lord was here on earth, He "kept them" in the Father's Name, v. 12, yet afterwards, He requested the Father that He would keep them, v. 11, and in particular from the evil in the world, v. 15.
There is a parallel to this great truth in 2 Timothy 1. 12. The alternative translation is, "I... .am persuaded that he is able to keep that which he has committed unto me'. In other words, the giving and the keeping are both on the divine side. The gift is from God, v. 6; He has given a spirit of power, love and of a sound mind, v. 7; grace had been given before the world began, v. 9; it had been given to Paul to be a "preacher, apostle, teacher", v. 11; the good deposit committed to Timothy was "the faith, the doctrines of Scripture" (Vine), v. 14; the Scriptures had been given by the Holy Spirit, 3. 16. And these possessions granted by God will also be kept by Him until that coming day: "he is able to keep", for these things are spiritual. If we have any responsibility in this keeping process, it is only by the Holy Spirit, 1. 14.
Thus we personally are kept both spiritually and morally according to John 17, and our possessions for service and Christian living are kept according to 2 Timothy 1; in both cases, the Giver and Keeper is One divine.