by John Duncan
In 2 Timothy 2:15 Paul admonishes Timothy with these words: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”
This is a sacred charge to ministers and to all professors of the Christian religion: that we are known by and well versed in truth. The substance of that truth is to be seen in our conduct, and the benefits of that truth extend to our neighbor.
But the Christian church in America is increasingly unacquainted with truth, ashamed of our ancient faith, unapproved and feeble in our gospel abilities. We live in a culture that challenges our beliefs every day, and rather than accept that challenge with clarity, grace, and constancy we concede and compromise. We defer or say nothing at all.
But Christians are to present themselves to God — not men — for His service and for His approval. When scriptural truths are challenged, we are to be ready to defend their integrity. But how often it is the case that the outward conduct of the church is the very ground on which the world dismisses the free offer of the gospel. Though it is no excuse for the non-believer, it is nonetheless a shame on those who are to be emissaries of light. We are called to be the outworking evidence of Scriptures’ truth claims. Our lives are intended to be verification of God’s decrees.
But we are often mute in the face of opposition, and Christians struggle to apply biblical principles to everyday discussions.
You know, there’s a right way to use a buzz saw, a right way to hold it, and a right way to cut with it. Deviating from these obvious ergonomic realities can be dangerous or fatal. I cannot imagine anyone ever saying, “Well, that’s the way you hold it, but I like to grab it by the blade during cutting and secure it by leaning on it.” That method is only executable once.
There’s also a right way to handle the word of truth — to serve its meaning, to serve its purposes, and to serve its author, God.