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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Bible Verse for 2/18/19

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. — Romans 8:38-39

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