๐Ÿ‘‘ To Have and To Hold

โ€œHolding faith, and a good conscience, which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreckโ€ (I Timothyย 1:19).

Those who teach that salvation can be lost use this verse to say that unless we maintain a tight grip on the faith that saved us, we will make shipwreck of the faith and lose our eternal life. But when we compare Paulโ€™s use of the wordย holdย here to how he told Titus to be โ€œholding fastย the faithful wordโ€ย (Titus 1:9), we understand โ€œthe faithโ€ here to refer toย the body of truth committed to the Apostle Paul.ย The context here is not salvation, it is warring a good warfare (I Tim.ย 1:18) against men who teach false doctrine (I Tim.ย 1:20). The way to war a good warfare in the dispensation of grace is, as Paul later told Timothy, to โ€œhold fastย the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of meโ€ (II Tim.ย 1:13).

We must maintain this tight grip on Pauline truth in โ€œgood conscience.โ€ People say to โ€œlet your conscience be your guide,โ€ but Paul โ€œlived in all good conscienceโ€ (Acts 23:1)ย from his forefathersย (II Tim. 1:3). That means that even while persecuting Godโ€™s people โ€œunto the deathโ€ as Saul of Tarsus, his conscience was clear! Thatโ€™s because he โ€œdid itย ignorantlyโ€ (I Tim.ย 1:13). That is, he didnโ€™tย knowย he was persecuting Godโ€™s people. He thought His people were heretics and that he was serving God in killing them (John 16:2). Does that tell you howย dangerousย it is to let your conscience be your guide? A conscience is only good if the light of Godโ€™s truth is shining on it!

A conscience is like a sundial in that respect. A sundial only gives the correct time when the right light is shining on it. If you check a sundial under the light of the moon, you are going to get a faulty reading. And if you go out at night with a flashlight,ย you can make it any time you like.ย The terrorists who flew those planes into the Twin Towers did so in all good conscience. People are born with a conscience that tells them that murder like that is wrong, but a conscience can โ€œseared with a hot ironโ€ by โ€œdoctrines of devilsโ€ (I Tim. 4:1,2). When that happens, people become โ€œpast feelingโ€ (Eph.ย 4:19), and no longer feel the pricks of a conscience enlightened by Godโ€™s Word.

Many people say that doctrine isnโ€™t important, but the people killed by Saul of Tarsus know better, as do the victims of 9/11. The mistakes you make in life may be nowhere near as heinous, but unless your conscience is enlightened by โ€œthe faithโ€ committed to the Apostle Paul, the light from some other source will cause your conscience to give a faulty reading, and you wonโ€™t be able to โ€œwar a good warfareโ€ for the Lord in the dispensation of grace.

Some in Paulโ€™s day had โ€œput awayโ€ the faith, a Bible phrase forย divorceย (Mt.ย 5:31). But God has given us the body of Pauline truth to have and to hold. Letโ€™s hold it for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part. source

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