Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Scripture equips us to live differently - 2 Timothy 3

2 Timothy 3:12-13 (ESV)
12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.

Those who desire not only to live the goodness and justice of the Kingdom but also teach others to do the same are to take warning that it will not be easy to do so. The patterns of injustice, corruption, violence, hedonism, and self-centredness are habits ingrained by the world's system. Not all who are bound by such things want to be set free. There privileged enjoy temporary benefits by remaining married to the world's doctrines of power and pleasure. It is a deception.

Pastors and righteous resistors are encouraged at the beginning of the chapter to avoid such people. The context of Paul's ministry and writings demonstrate that this does not mean we self-righteously refuse to share our lives with people who are still bound by the spirit of empire. However, we should not pair our lives with the patterns and habits of those that support the machine. The sad truth is that resistance to the world's corruption makes it difficult to have true, close, mutually yoked relationships with people who continue in support of the empire's corrupt patterns. At best, we allow ourselves to become as desensitized and anesthetized as they, rendering us ineffective. At worst, we can become agents of the machine, fully deceived and bound again in sin.

Galatians 5:1 (ESV)
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

It is right and good for us to live and fight in love for justice for and even with those who are still personally bound. It is not right that we should become so comfortable with their bondage that we become bound ourselves.

2 Timothy 3:14-17 (ESV)
14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16  All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

The answer is the same as both letters to Timothy have repeated from the beginning. Our influence is the Word, not the world. We are to be wise in the way of salvation from corruption. Scripture equips us to live for the eternal Kingdom and contrary to the empire's patterns. It is alive, not just rhetoric or philosophy but power itself to live as it teaches.

No fear.

Read 2 Timothy 3

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