Thursday, June 12, 2014

Profane and vain babbling - 2nd Timothy

"But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and they upset the faith of some. Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, 'The Lord knows those who are His,' and, 'Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.'" (2 Timothy 2:16-19)
To "avoid" here means to stand off, like a bystander, seeing, but not participating in the activity. It is interesting to me that people can become so engrossed in debating over the meaning of the Word that it leads to their unfaithfulness and, ultimately, their destruction. How odd it is that those who look into the eternal truth of God, seeking for some new revelation or some hidden meaning, often come away further from God and His righteousness then when they first started. I believe that it is because the Word of God was never meant to be our guide, such as a map, for this life, but rather a shining light beckoning us to Christ. To the degree that it does prove to be a map in our lives is in correspondence to the degree that it has lead us to Christ. If we devour the Word in a way that does not lead us to Christ then we are embarking on a journey into error and, as for our faith, shipwreck.

Anyone who wishes to preach heresy can find it in the scriptures, such as did Hymenaeus and Philetus. Finding "evidence" in the Word that the resurrection has already occurred, their commitment to their own personal revelation lead them, not only to their own destruction, but to the destruction of those who heard and followed them. They found "truth" but did not know the one who is eternally "true." If they had known Christ, they would have known better, but not knowing Christ, their pride and arrogance lead them in the way of error and ungodliness. Their teaching was more a commitment to themselves than to Christ, His people, and His work on the earth.

How can we avoid worldly and empty chatter, or as Darby calls it, "Profane and vain babbling"? Paul reminds us of two pillars of God's foundation in our lives. First, "The Lord knows those who are His." This means that we must first become His. Many will attempt to make use of the scriptures without first becoming His. Without a relationship with God it is impossible to understand His word and, without understanding His word, it is easy to end up in error. Also, in being His, God watches over His own, but those who know Him not are left to their own devices. Our first line of defense against error and degeneracy is to know Jesus.

Secondly, "Everyone who knows God should abstain from wickedness." If we claim to know God but continue to live our lives unaffected, then we lie and do know know the truth. If we know God then we, by the power and grace of God, aught to live like His Son in holiness and righteousness. Those who pursue ungodliness show they do not really know God and that they are void of the truth of God inside themselves. Those who desire ungodliness will find it, but those who desire righteousness will be transformed into the image of God's Son. "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." (Matthew 5:6) Pursuing holiness and righteousness will never lead us astray as long as we hold fast to the One who has made us both holy and righteous.

David Robison

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