Theme: Faithful Servants
In this week’s lessons, Paul reminds Timothy of those things he is to avoid, as well as those that he must practice, in order to please the Lord in his life and service.
Scripture: 2 Timothy 2:14-15
Why does it say in 1 John 1 that God is faithful and just? He is faithful because he has promised to forgive and cleanse us of our sins if we confess them to him. If he promised us this and then didn’t do it, he would be unfaithful; he would be breaking his promises. But he doesn’t break his promises because he is faithful. Therefore, when we come to him we know that he will do for us what he said he will. Why do we know he will keep his promises? Because he doesn’t merely forget about our sin, but, rather, he provides cleansing on the basis of the death of the Lord Jesus Christ.
That’s why Paul can say, as he does in Romans 3:26, that God is both just and the justifier of the one who believes on Jesus. He justifies but he does it justly because he does it because of the death of his Son, who acts as our substitute in suffering and dying for us. So if you feel that the vessel of your life is dirty, as it often is, you can come knowing that God is ready, willing, faithful and just to forgive that sin if you will confess it to him.
And then, finally, in these last verses we come to the matter of the servant. We are servants of the Lord Jesus Christ, and it behooves us to act as servants of the one to whom we belong. I notice that Paul introduces a contrast between what we are not to do and what we are to do. In verse 22 we are told to “flee the evil desires of youth,” and then by way of contrast Paul says to “pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace.” Also, in verse 23 we are given the warning, “Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.” And then verse 24 supplies the contrast: “And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.”
The Lord Jesus Christ is our commander, and there are things that we are not to do, as well as things that we are to do. We simply cannot be indifferent in these matters and conclude that we can serve Jesus on Sunday but the rest of the time we will do what we like. Nor can we say that we will serve Jesus in one area but not in another. That is not how someone can act who serves an earthly master. Why should we think that it works differently in our relationship with God?
By nature, until Jesus redeemed us by his death on the cross we were the servants of sin. We were held in bondage by sin, and sin was a cruel taskmaster. But Jesus freed us from that slavery to sin, and brought us into the glorious liberty of his household, where in a paradoxical way we are both free and servants at the same time. We are no longer slaves to sin, but instead have been made slaves to serve Jesus Christ, which we discover to be the greatest freedom of all. As a result, we have this glorious destiny before us to reign with him and to be co-heirs with him in the glory that is his as the Son of the eternal Father.
We who have experienced this saving truth are to desire to serve Jesus Christ wholeheartedly. Peter writes about this in his first epistle, where he gives the reason of Christ’s death as a great motivation for us: “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” We became his servants by his becoming a servant and dying even the death on the cross. Now because we know that, and have received redemption from what Peter calls “the empty way of life,” we are to serve him faithfully. This is a glorious truth, a glorious destiny, and a glorious responsibility. And it is what we desire to be.
How can God be both faithful and just, as it says in 1 John 1:9? Also, from Romans 3:26, how can God be both just and the one who justifies?
What is the third image Paul uses? From verses 22-24, what contrasting themes does Paul refer to in order to show us what we as Christ’s servants need to do, and what things we are to avoid?
Application: Make a list of the contrasting ideas from verses 22-24. Are there any wrong practices or thoughts you have that you need to put away from your life?
Prayer: Ask the Lord daily to help you to be characterized by those virtues that the Bible says befit those who are God’s people.