Wage the Good Warfare

In the last devotion titled, “But I Received Mercy,” we read this in 1 Timothy 1:12-14 ESV:

“I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.”

Paul (formerly Saul) was a Pharisee and a persecutor and a murderer of Christians. But then Jesus saved his soul from hell, and he transformed him in heart and mind, and he gave him the mission of opening the eyes of the spiritually blind in turning them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they could receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Jesus Christ (see Acts 26:16-18).

And so Paul became a great man of God who surrendered his life to Jesus Christ and who suffered greatly at the hands of other people in order to bring the truth of the gospel to the people and in order to refute the lies of the enemy of our souls. And he warned against false teachers who swerve from pure hearts and good consciences and sincere faith, and who wander off to vain discussion, to talk about matters they really know nothing about, in practice, and who are blowhards (braggarts, egotistical, and swindlers).

These braggarts and swindlers (cheats, tricksters, fakers) are long on talk but short on action, and oftentimes they are described in the Bible as those who are lawless, disobedient, ungodly, unholy, profane, murderers, sexually immoral, and those who practice homosexuality. They are enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine and is contrary to God’s moral laws. They are usually people without conscience, without morals, without restraint, without compassion, and lacking in kindness and concern for other people, because they are all about self and self-pleasure.

And many of them profess to be Christians, and some are even pastors of church congregations (or the gatherings of what is falsely called “church”). And some are husbands and wives and children and sisters and brothers who are mistreating their parents, siblings, spouses, and/or children. For when you deliberately and habitually sin against those you claim to love, that isn’t love, and you shouldn’t call it love, for it is hate, and it is willful. And it is abuse, and if this is you, and if you are making excuses for why you continue on this vein, then shame on you. You are without excuse!

1 Timothy 1:18-20 ESV

“This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.”

So, this really is the charge to all of us who profess Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord of our lives. We should all be waging war against the enemy of our souls and against his lies and against false teachings and false teachers who are leading people astray by the masses. And we should all be living holy lives in dying daily to sin and to self and in walking in daily obedience to our Lord and to his commands. And we should be those who are steadfast in holding on to the truth as Jesus and as his NT apostles taught it to us.

Not one of us who professes faith in Jesus Christ should be like those described in the previous section of this writing who are living immoral and ungodly lives and who are deliberately sinning against God and against others, even those who they profess to love, and without conscience, and with no genuine desire to change their behaviors, either. We should not be those who reject the truth of the gospel and who turn to an altered gospel message so that they can continue in sin unhindered.

We should be those who long for our Lord and for his truth and righteousness, and whose desire is to do his will, to please him in all that we are and do and say.

As the Deer

By Martin J. Nystrom
Based off Psalm 42:1

As the deer panteth for the water
So my soul longeth after You
You alone are my heart’s desire
And I long to worship You

You alone are my strength, my shield
To You alone may my spirit yield
You alone are my heart’s desire
And I long to worship You

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[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

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