Withdraw yourself (stand away)12-05-2014 - Posted by Andre Piet
Paul’s letters overflow with joy and expectation. No wonder, for GOD is the Savior of all mankind and through judgments, He will set everything right. He, Himself, is the guarantee for the good outcome! As optimistic Paul is in the message which he proclaims, so pessimistic is he about (the future of) Christianity. Nowhere does that sound stronger than in his last letter, written shortly before his execution. The prisoner Paul, had to conclude that all in Asia (where he had labored with so much fruit) had left him by now (1:15). Paul informs Timothy not to have any illusions about what would happen after his departure. Massively, they would turn away from the truth (4:4) and the sound doctrine which Paul had taught they would not even tolerate anymore (4:3). Paul prepares Timothy for the fact that he, in the Christian world (“with its semblance of Godliness”; 3:5), would encounter pure rejection of the truth. Timothy is not instructed to attempt a reformation and a change for the better. On the contrary, Timothy had to withdraw himself from this (2:19). No actions of ecumenism and cooperation, but Timothy should distance himself from the “Christian community” (2:21). Such a lonely position, as an outcast, obviously means suffering (3:12, 4:5). Only through the living, vitalizing Word, would Timothy be able to be a living fish, swimming against the stream (“Now you…”; 3:10). Dead fish, naturally float with the current. Only by withdrawing from simulated-Christianity, with its unsound and hypocritical teachings (1Tim.4:1-2) and “an evangel that is no evangel”, would Timothy be a useful instrument for his Owner and be ready for every good work (2:21). What a lesson this was for Timothy, at that time, but no less for us, now, twenty centuries later! The Christian era is almost over. “On the third day,” the third millennium is at hand. Everyone who orients himself by Paul’s words, knows that from Christendom nothing can be expected. This is all the more reason, amid all the deception and winds of doctrine, to remain with what “is written”!