Be prepared

Good morning

In the second book to Timothy chapter 2 v 26 we read this…”and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.”

It is important to realise who the apostle Paul is writing about in this verse. The meaning of “they” appears in the previous verse: “those who are in opposition.” The entire epistle is instruction for the evangelist Timothy, and in this passage in particular, Paul is giving the younger man advice on how to handle those who dispute the gospel message he taught.

He instructs Timothy, as “a servant of the Lord,” to correct his opponents with humility and in the hope of two positive outcomes should God grant repentance to them. First, his correct explanation of the matter in contention would bring them out of their ignorance, freeing them from the bondage of error (John 8:32) and opening the reality of the truth to them. Paul was very aware that false teachers and anti-Christian foes functioned with a veil over their minds (see, for instance, how he explains it regarding the Jews in II Corinthians 3:14-16; Matthew 15:14), a blindness that could only be lifted by the direct intervention of God revealing Himself and His truth by the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 2:10-14; John 6:44). A Christian should always answer folk plainly with the revealed truth of God to give them the knowledge that may lead to their repentance.

The second positive outcome is the subject of 2 Timothy 2:26. He hopes that exposure to the truth will bring opponents “to their senses” and free them from their captivity to Satan. The apostle realises that even the most cunning argument of one of God’s servants is not enough to accomplish this; a person’s repentance and acceptance of the truth will happen only if God “flicks a switch” in his mind by the Holy Spirit to become receptive to Him. So a Christian must present the truth in the prayerful hope and expectation that God will use his explanation to call the person into a relationship with Him. It is only at this point that an individual truly comes to his senses (see Luke 15:17; Acts 9:3-20). Only then does he begin to see without the blinkers (or in Paul’s own case, when the scales fell from his eyes).

So while at work or play, when folk question why I believe what I believe, as Peter reminds me, I need to always be ready to explain gently and clearly the reason for the hope that is within me.

Have a good week

Mark

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