We talked yesterday about 2 Timothy 2:19 and the fact that God’s firm foundation only has two things written on it. Why those two things?
There is a lot of scriptural backing coming for the things I am teaching in this series, I promise. For now, though, I am trying to get us to really look at each verse we cover.
Since God’s firm foundation only has “The Lord knows those who are his” and “Let those who name the name of the Lord depart from unrighteousness” on it, it seems apparent that we must ascribe no small importance to those two things. In fact, as we go on, we will see that other Scriptures ascribe great importance to those two things as well. For now, though, we will get everything from this verse what we can.
The point of that first inscription has to be that it is not our job to worry about who is in and who is out. At least in some sense this has to be true. “The Lord knows,” at least in this case, is suggesting that we do not know.
The second inscription is telling us that it is highly important to turn away from unrighteousness. In other words, “Stop doing bad things!”
This is written on God’s foundation, and other things that could have been written there are not there. That makes “Stop doing bad things!” one of the most important teachings in the Christian religion.
That is enough building for today, but today I am going to start chipping away at the old foundation too. A lot of people think that “dos and don’ts” are not part of the Christian system. Apparently they have not read the New Testament. I am going to guess that there is not one book of the New Testament that does not have lots of commands in it. If I’m wrong, I’m only barely wrong. Even Paul’s letters are full of “dos and don’ts.” That is undeniable. Go read the last half of any of his letters.
Because this is an area of conflict between the old foundation, which says “dos and don’ts” are not really a part of faith or if a part, certainly a very small part, and because we must tear down the old foundation to properly build the new one, I will give you a couple of supporting verses, even though the commands in the New Testament books are supporting enough by themselves.
If you believe that commands issued in the Bible are issued to us, or at least most of them are, then the Bible tells me and you to “Affirm constantly that those who have believed in God be careful to maintain good works” (Tit. 3:8). That command certainly indicates that departing from unrighteousness is very important. We are told, or if we are not told, certainly our leaders are told to tell us “constantly” to do good works.
I am going to guess that being told constantly to do good works is not the experience of many of my readers. If I am wrong about that, great!
I am jumping ahead of myself, but let’s look at a great passage expressing the importance of departing from unrighteousness and doing good deeds instead:
The grace of God that brings salvation to all men has appeared, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live sensibly, righteously, and godly in this present age, looking for that blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us so that he might redeem us from all lawlessness and purify for himself his own special people, zealous for good deeds. (Tit. 2:11-14)
Paul gets an “F” in grammar for his run-on sentence, but an “A+” for poetically expressing one of the greatest and most important truths of the Christian religion. Jesus died to redeem us from lawlessness and purify a people hungry to do good works. This is fantastic! It is foundational to depart from unrighteousness, so Jesus died to redeem us from lawlessness and make us zealous for good works. Not only that, but he gave us grace that would continually be teaching us to depart from unrighteousness and to live sensibly and righteously and godly! Awesome!
Then there is the next statement: “These things speak, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you!” (Tit. 2:15).
So not only is grace going to be teaching us to depart from unrighteousness, but our leaders will too, and both grace and our leaders will be “constantly” teaching us to maintain good works.
At this point, I think we are all getting an inkling that “depart from unrighteousness” might be appropriately inscribed on the sure foundation of God.
So now that we know the foundation (Christ, 1 Cor. 3:11), what is written on it, and an inkling of why, let’s talk in the next blog about actually building on the sure foundation of God.