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Saturday, August 21, 2010

truth and error 12: enemy clarification, v. 26b

I left off the very last part of verse 26 in order to speak to it as its own topic. Paul finishes the description of the hopeful outcome of a repentant heart led to God’s truth with this additional phrase:
… [that they might] escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:26b)
Paul observes here what he does in Ephesians 6:12… that our battle is not against flesh and blood, but is part of a larger spiritual battle between God and His enemy, Satan. While other human beings can and do hold opinions and beliefs that are contrary to God’s Word, it is not enough to simply think of truth and error in terms of “good guys” and “bad guys.” Satan is the “Father of Lies” (John 8:44) and would deceive human beings any time and any place he can.

That recognition coupled with the qualities Paul describes here should cause a follower of Jesus not to see others as enemies, but as fellow human beings in need of God’s redemption and truth. Even conflicts of truth and error, which lead us so easily into quarrels, then become for us another mission field, a place to be salt and light, as carriers of the winsome and inviting Good News of Jesus Christ. This connection between truth, error, and mission, also provides some depth of understanding to what Jesus meant when he charged us to “love our enemies” (Matthew 5:44ff).

Summing Up

This passage (2 Timothy 2:14-26) is rich. It is a challenge to all who would be followers of Jesus in a culture and setting where the Father of Lies would deceive and distract many from the Truth. Diligently study your Bible; guard your behavior and turn away from an immature and shallow faith toward a mature faith imprinted with the character of Jesus Christ. Let this faith be evident in word and deed, as even the confrontation of untruth becomes an opportunity to be salt and light for Jesus Christ.

Posts in this "Truth and Error" series:
1 - intro and core doctrine, 2 timothy 2.14-26
2 - word-wrangling, v. 14
3 - study, v. 15
4 - a local challenge, vv. 16-18
5 - church pictures, vv. 19-21
6 - empty talk, vv. 16-18
7 - immaturity and distraction, v. 22
8 - false teaching, v. 23
9 - kind to all, v. 24
10 - able to teach, patient, gentle, vv. 24-25
11 - gracious hope, vv. 25b-26a
12 - enemy clarification, v. 26b

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