by Rev Jason Phua
Bible Readings: 2 Timothy 2:22-3:17; Psalms 94:1-23
READ (Verse chosen for reflection)
2 Timothy 3:12-13 “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.”
I would assume that all who sincerely follow Jesus desires to live a godly life. However, what does the “godly” life involve? According to Paul, the godly life involves living out what the Word of God says. When we start to do this, it invites persecution. In fact, the Apostle seemed to be saying that persecution (because of our choice to live differently) should mark our way of life as Jesus’ true disciple.
Interestingly, Paul warned in the same sentence (ref 2 Timothy 3:13) that those who prefer to deceive themselves on this matter will grow from bad to worse. On that, I can think of charlatans who deceive themselves (and others) by twisting God’s Word like: “Those who desires to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be richly blessed in your career, wealth and health!” Yet, Paul had none of these. To him, the godly life comes with a price and that is, persecution.
We live in an era where 2 Timothy 3:12-13 is seldom preached, if at all. Such “hard theology” as one puts it does not go well with people; so better to stay on the safe side and preach “grace”. Yes, talking about God’s grace is important; but isn’t 2 Timothy 3:12-13 also part of God’s Word? In fact, isn’t persecution also part of God’s grace for us? After all, the persecution comes from others (and not from God) who do not believe and it comes because we are empowered to do the right thing! Isn’t that grace from our sovereign God?
In my mentoring session with one of PMC’s young leaders today, we discussed why should teachings such as 2 Timothy 3:12-13 be considered “hard theology”. The young leader made the comment which went something like: “Shouldn’t teachings like this be considered as “normal” to those who truly profess Christ as Lord?”
I must say that my heart is gladden by the good understanding this young leader has of God’s Word and I am encouraged by hope. I pray that more and more of us will indeed choose to read God’s Word for what it is worth and be committed to live the godly life. All these, instead of deceiving ourselves and grow from bad to worse.
Lord our God, help us to understand what discipleship in You truly means. Help us to stay away from the teachings that are not of you; but be committed to obey what truly comes from the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.