I’ve been considering lately how often I’ve failed in this command.
2 Timothy 2:24-26 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 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.
When I first began to hear about a God I didn’t know, I was perplexed. It was almost a surreal feeling to hear preaching that dug deeply into the Word of God and exposed it. I remember my wife and I having discussions and wondering what was going on. I wanted to leave, but I couldn’t.
As God began to do a work in my heart, I began to have discussions with those around me that didn’t always go very well. I became quarrelsome and aggressive. I was impatient and unable to teach, arrogantly defending the truths of the bible that I was now learning, pushing people away from the truth.
I guess I hadn’t read these verses?
I certainly didn’t know what they meant…
One of the knocks on Calvinists is arrogance. Perhaps it’s misplaced zeal? Perhaps it’s a burning desire to show others an uncommon God, the God that we’ve been exposed to? I’m not sure, but there is truth behind it. I love the Bible, and I love the doctrines of grace, because they show God in a completely different light than what I grew up seeing and hearing about, the God of the Bible, not a concoction of my imagination. It knocked me off my horse, so to speak.
Wow…did I have a lot to learn!
I’ve certainly not arrived, but as I consider the words of the great Apostle the directive is clear. I’m to be gentle. I should not be quarrelsome. I must be humble. If I’m not those things I won’t be able to teach, because they won’t hear. I might know something others don’t know, but if I don’t present it properly they will never hear me.
What is the purpose of this?
So God will perhaps grant them repentance and they can know the truth.
Did you catch that word perhaps? There are no guarantees in evangelism. Salvation is of the Lord, no if’s, ands or buts… We can trust the Lord will do all His good pleasure, but as for MEEEEEEE!!!! I must be gentle.
I must also never compromise truth.
The call includes a directive to correct those in opposition. There is a balance to these verses. When someone is corrected, it doesn’t always “feel” gentle to them. Just ask my daughters. They don’t like being corrected, but it doesn’t say, “And be careful not to hurt their feelings”.
I’ve hurt people in my evangelism and for that I’m ashamed and I’ve sought forgiveness in the situations I’m aware of. I must continue to learn from the Lord how to be a better doulos (slave), I must be gentle, but I must also correct and ultimately that will bring God glory.
…And perhaps some will escape the snare of the devil, as they’ve been taken captive by him to do his will. This is an overwhelming thought to me. How many will perish, if God doesn’t grant repentance, and He can’t do that if we are not out sharing the Good News.
Soli Deo Gloria!