Throughout the history of mankind, man has faced uncertainty, doubts, insecurity, trials and the consistent appearance of unexpected events for which we find ourselves totally unprepared. This ever wavering condition of a fallen word is repeatedly reflected within the pages of the Word of God…
“Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what [shall be] on the morrow. For what [is] your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye [ought] to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.” (James 4:13-15)
“To every [thing there is] a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up [that which is] planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
9) What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth? I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-10)
“While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen [are] temporal; but the things which are not seen [are] eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:18)
Although the uncertainty of this world is a continuing presentation with the Word, we also find that the Word explicitly reveals that which is certain, sure, secure, a strong foundation that can be eternally relied upon. Let’s take a look at the guarantee the Lord gives to us that will last for an eternity.
17) And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;
18) Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.
19) Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
20) But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.
21) If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, [and] prepared unto every good work.
(2 Timothy 2:17-21)
As we begin looking at the guarantee that God gives to us, we pick up in the middle of a teaching that Paul was handing down to the young pastor, Timothy. In this section, he was explaining the danger of false teaching which can mislead those who were seeking the truth. As an example, Paul refers to two false teachers and the results of their error-filled teachings…
And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;
False teaching made under the veil of “truth” can slowly destroy those who receive it. The effects of false teaching are much like the effects of gangrene that slowly proceeds from the wound, eating away at the limb, as it slowly, painfully progresses to the body, eventually causing death.
What was the content of their false teachings?….
Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.
The error being proclaimed was that the resurrection of the people of God has occurred already and, therefore, no reason to believe in a future resurrection. Most probably, they held that the resurrection of saints at the crucifixion (Matt 27:52) and resurrection of Christ (Matt 28) were the complete fulfillment of all the prophecies given by God concerning a resurrection of His people.
By implication, this opened the way for several other doctrinal errors…
1. There would be no future coming of Christ; the cause of the future resurrection.
2. There would be no life after death; the result of the future resurrection.
3. There would be no eternal judgment of man’s sin and no reward of man’s labors for Christ; one purpose of the resurrection.
These men were totally wrong in their interpretation of these prophecies and historical events. These teachings were inspired by Satanic influence and meant to overturn and destroy Scriptural beliefs.
However, in spite of Satanic opposition and the existence of false teaching, the Lord gives us a guarantee…
Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal,
This guarantee is a firm foundation, upon which we can stand. It is founded in the counsels of an All-wise, All-powerful, Truthful God. It has God’s seal upon it, guaranteeing its divine origin and making it eternally secure.
What are the two features of this guarantee that our Lord has given to us?…
The Lord knoweth them that are his.
#1 – The Lord knows intimately, completely, fully those that He has purchased with His shed blood…His intimate relationship with His people includes but is not limited to….
His love for them;
His knowledge of their sins and weaknesses;
His knowledge of their trials and heartaches;
His knowledge of their hearts intents and their true spiritual condition;
And yet in spite of all these, He chose to humble Himself and die on the cross so that they might be forgiven, saved from God’s wrath, and live eternally with Him.
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only [so], but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” (Romans 5:8-11)
For those who have placed their faith in Christ, this is a guarantee from God Himself.
Paul now continues by explaining the second aspect of this divine guarantee….
And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
#2 – Everyone who has taken upon Himself the title of “Christian” (a follower of Christ), will see the need to follow His example by living a life of loved-based sacrifice and service to the Lord and man. When we love the Lord and others, we will find that our lives will be characterized by holiness (separated from sin to His service).
“Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (2 Corinthians 7:1)
This is the second aspect of the guarantee that originates with Him.
(Please take note that this is ONE guarantee with two related elements. What is the link between these two elements? The first aspect of this guarantee is the CAUSE of the second aspect of the guarantee. In other words, it is the Lord’s work of love on their behalf that is the CAUSE. His people publically associating themselves with Him by living lives of holiness is the EFFECT. His love and work on behalf of His people is the motivating force behind their holy living.)
Paul now gives a solemn warning for us all…
But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.
We should realize that sin is a natural part of our fallen nature. Not only do we find motives and activities that are of great value to Christ and His cause, we also will always bear sinful fruit due to the sin that dwells within us.
“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to [give] the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” (2 Corinthians 4:6-7)
This is why we must always be on guard and purposefully trusting Him to enable us to overcome the ainful workings of our flesh…
If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, [and] prepared unto every good work.
This is a big “if”! After all He has done for His people, do they appreciate it? If so, they will diligently seek to associate themselves through holy living.
They will willingly turn from the pleasures of sin for a season, choosing in its place the way of Christ. They will be willing to go through the fires of trials and tribulations, knowing that these will result in a closer walk with their Lord. They will be willing to give their all for the cause of their Lord, Savior, and Friend. They will gladly sacrifice in these ways, knowing that they will be better servants of their Lord and better able to perform the work to which they have been called.
Do we recognize the great works of love and sacrifice performed by Jesus on behalf of His people?
Do we possess an intimate relationship with Christ, based upon faith and submission to Him?
Out of appreciation for all He has done for us, do we see our need to allow others to see Christ in us through holy living?
If we can say “yes” to all the above questions, we can have assurance knowing that we possess a wondrous guarantee from Almighty God that gives us stability and peace in the midst of a tumultuous world.
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May the Lord bless your study of His Word. Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”