Going Deeper 10-8-19

The second reading for Pentecost 18…
2 Timothy 2:8-15  Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David—that is my gospel, for which I suffer hardship, even to the point of being chained like a criminal.  But the word of God is not chained.  Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, so that they may also obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.  The saying is sure: If we have died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he will also deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.  Remind them of this, and warn them before God that they are to avoid wrangling over words, which does no good but only ruins those who are listening.  Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly explaining the word of truth.

 

In other words, the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.  And for us as followers of “Jesus Christ, raised from the dead,” the main thing is the “gospel.”  It is possible-- and church history is far too full of examples-- to get so caught up in “wrangling over words” that the heart of the Biblical message gets lost in the shuffle.  How strange it ought to seem that not only has there seemingly been constant arguing over words among Christians, literal wars have been fought over some of the disagreements.

 

This is not to say there are no other important things to discuss, other issues of theological significance which need to be worked out.  Paul himself spends much of his letters clarifying important theological concepts.  What Paul does remind young pastor Timothy of is that the foundation of it all is the Gospel, the good news of salvation through Jesus.  There is some room for seeing some things differently, for reaching different theological conclusions… but not when it comes to the Gospel.  We are saved by grace through faith in the redemptive work of God through Jesus.

 

When we see ourselves and everyone else as being broken, finite beings seeking to connect more and more profoundly with an infinite God who is full of power and grace, we can approach our differences from a posture of humility.  Therefore, as long as we keep the Gospel straight there is room for respectful discussion without wrangling, division and conflict.

 

May God fill us with such wisdom!

 

With You in Him,

 

Mark Gabbert, Pastor

Zion Lutheran Church, Wellington, Colorado

 

“No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”