Paul is instructing Timothy (and us) about the destruction and divisions that are caused by debating over doctrines. He is instructing us that our time would be better spent in meditating on God’s Word and doing exactly what it says without adding anything to it. This is what the scribes and Pharisees had done to the Old Testament law. They had added their own interpretations to it and were weighing the people down with useless requirements. Some of us do the same thing today and then wonder why our church attendance is down. The important thing for us to remember is that God made the plan of salvation very simple for a reason. It is not a burden to bear, it is easy to understand and for us, it is free, even though, it cost God His only Son. Anyone can do it.
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.–John 3:16 NIV
Is there more to the story? Yes, but just believing and repenting is all there is to salvation. Knowing the rest of the story will help you enjoy the journey.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
27 For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory. — Colossians 1:27 (emphasis mine)
Just as Jesus suffered, we, His followers must also suffer. All the disciples and early followers of Jesus were persecuted. Christ is still suffering through His body, the church. Just as Paul was given a special work to do in revealing the message of God to the Gentiles, God has given each of us a work to do in revealing His plan to those that are placed in our paths each day. The secret is not that Jesus would come as the Messiah; it wasn’t that Jesus would die on the cross, be buried and be resurrected after 3 days. Then He would ascend into heaven to remain in God’s presence interceding for us. All these things were prophesied and well-known. The secret was that He would abide in those who believed on Him. His Holy Spirit would dwell in us all the time. He ascended, yet He is here living in each of us, giving all believers that hope of eternal glory. This is what we are to teach in order to bring each Christian into maturity in Christ Jesus. Just as the Creator suffered, so will we suffer as we are faithful to spread the Good News. We will struggle, but we have access to the strength and power that resurrected Jesus from the dead. We are never alone.
This was the message that God gave to Moses to give to the children of Israel. Time and again, God would give them this message. Time and again, God changed the hearts of His people. They would disobey and go astray. Being a just God, He was required to discipline them. They would repent and turn back to Him and He would soften their hearts and accept their offerings again. That was the Old Testament. Then Jesus died on the cross for our sins and established a new and better covenant. Now, Jesus says the whole law hinged on two commandments. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself. Two commandments that are certainly not hard to understand, but God knew we would fail, so He sent us a Helper, His Holy Spirit. Now, He is closer to us than He has ever been. We don’t need to look for Him anywhere because He abides in us and is all around us. Or as St. Patrick said: “Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left.”.
There is no need for us to go anywhere or search anywhere because He abides in us and leads us into all truth. Two commandments, easy to understand, but not so easy to follow on a daily basis.
11 You will make known to me the path of life;In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever. — Psalm 16:11 NASB
In our busy, busy world, we often think about just getting away from it all. Just go somewhere and relax, where we don’t even have to think about anything. Perhaps, at some time in the past, that was possible (I doubt it), but, not now. Why? Because we take everything with us. It fits easily in our pockets, it is lightweight and it is our umbilical cord to the world. We think we can’t live without it. I posit that we can’t truly live with it. It is time to cut the cord and relax in the arms of Jesus. Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life.” So, to experience life, we must experience Jesus. To experience Jesus, we must spend time with Him, both in quality and in quantity. Time with Him and Him alone. While we do need time away from our jobs with just the family, we need time away from everything and everybody with just Him; Our God is a great God and a good God. Yes, we need to fear (as in respect) Him for who He is, but we also need to understand that He loves us and longs for our companionship. He longs for us to be focused and fully dependent on Him. So, if you are looking for real life, real peace and real joy, run to Him, curl up in HIs lap, marinate yourself in His presence and just experience His love. You will never want to leave that spot. It is totally impossible to live a life of joy and peace without being completely addicted to Jesus.
28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” — Matt. 11:28-30 NLT
18 “I will not leave you all alone like orphans; I will come back to you. 19 In a little while the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you will live, too. 20 On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and that you are in me and I am in you. 21 Those who know my commands and obey them are the ones who love me, and my Father will love those who love me. I will love them and will show myself to them.”22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you plan to show yourself to us and not to the rest of the world?” 23 Jesus answered, “If people love me, they will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Those who do not love me do not obey my teaching. This teaching that you hear is not really mine; it is from my Father, who sent me.—John 14:18-24 (NCV)
Jesus was always teaching His disciples and encouraging them. He knew that until the Holy Spirit came, they would feel alone and discouraged. He assures them and us that we will never be alone. He isn’t here physically with us now, but He is here abiding in our hearts and guiding us. If we love Jesus, we will be obedient children and the Father loves all of those who love Jesus. Every word that Jesus spoke came straight from the Father, so it is Truth. Everyone has the same opportunity to answer the call to come to Jesus. It is difficult for us to understand why some do and some don’t. God doesn’t send anyone to hell, a person has to work hard to get to hell. The wages (salary, pay) of sin is death. It is hard to understand why anyone would continue on that path when the plan of salvation is free and open to all who will accept. So, each of us has a choice to make, we can accept salvation full and free or we can earn our way to hell.