Read: 2 Timothy 1:1 – 2:14
Remind everyone about these things, and command them in God’s presence to stop fighting over words. Such arguments are useless, and they can ruin those who hear them. 2 Timothy 2:14
The focus verse for today could have been written as a reminder to me. My wife would probably kindly say that I spend a lot of time thinking about things and that I’m a critical thinker. That’s true, and I would take that as a compliment, but I also know I have a tendency towards cynicism. I like to find holes in arguments, and sometimes I like to debate arguments. While I believe there is time and a place for that, Paul is telling us very bluntly (with the words “command them”) to stop fighting over words when it comes to the Gospel of Jesus.
We all know the basics of the Gospel – Adam and Eve were tempted by Satan and sinned bringing sin into this world. Sin is a condition which affects all of mankind; it leads to death (spiritual and physical). But God loves his creation more than we can imagine and had a plan to redeem us from sin. He sent His only Son, Jesus, to become fully man while remaining fully God and pay our sin penalty, which is death (Romans 6:23a: the price of sin is death). Jesus was tempted just like the rest of us, but He lived a sinless life. Because He lived a sinless life, He was able to be the substitute for us and pay our price with His blood to remove our sin. Jesus died on the cross to pay our sin debt so we can live (Romans 6:23b: but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord). But God didn’t stop there. He raised Jesus from death as His ultimate victory over sin, death, and Satan, and as a promise that we too will be resurrected after death. This gift of life (freedom from sin and death) are gifts from God as a result of His grace for us; they can’t be earned through our works. As we’re told in Isaiah 64:6:
“We are all infected and impure with sin.
When we display our righteous deeds,
they are nothing but filthy rags.
Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall,
and our sins sweep us away like the wind.”
That’s the Gospel in a nutshell, and that’s what Paul tells Timothy to command believers to stop arguing over words as they apply to the Gospel.
Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 6:20 – 21: “guard the Good News which has been entrusted to you. Turn away from pointless discussions and the claims of false knowledge that people use to oppose the Christian faith. Although some claim to have knowledge, they have abandoned the faith.”
Rather than arguing and debating, we are to simply tell the truth of the Gospel. As Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 2: 8 – 13:
8 Always remember that Jesus Christ, a descendant of King David, was raised from the dead. This is the Good News I preach. 9 And because I preach this Good News, I am suffering and have been chained like a criminal. But the word of God cannot be chained.10 So I am willing to endure anything if it will bring salvation and eternal glory in Christ Jesus to those God has chosen.
11 This is a trustworthy saying:
If we die with him,
we will also live with him.
12 If we endure hardship,
we will reign with him.
If we deny him,
he will deny us.
13 If we are unfaithful,
he remains faithful,
for he cannot deny who he is.
Lord, thank You that You have set me free through Jesus’ death. Thank You that You are faithful and always true so I can believe Your promise of eternal life with You because of Your grace and because I have put my trust and faith in Jesus. You have made the truth of the Gospel simple so all can understand. When I get tied up in words, please help me to keep it simple and stick to Your truths so I can encourage others to turn to You rather then me turning them away through my words. In Jesus’ name … Amen