Read 2 Timothy 2:15-22
Be ready…be “prepared for every good work.”
When you read that statement, you likely begin to think in terms of having your eyes open for opportunity to serve people. To be sure, that is an important aspect of blessing others. In fact, one of the defining characteristics of a Christ follower is the fact that he/she does good works (Matt. 5:14-16; Eph. 2:8-10).
Still, the thrust of this passage is less on having open eyes and more on having a clean heart. You probably noted how Paul is like a pendulum in his writing, swinging between a call to correct understanding of God’s word and its antithesis…false teaching. I am sure you saw how he contrasted ungodliness, iniquity, and youthful lusts on the one hand and righteousness, faith, and love on the other. Paul is concerned about what we believe and how we live…about faithful theology and God-honoring theopraxis. (The word theopraxis combines two Greek words: theos meaning God and praxis meaning practice.)
And with regard to the theopraxis, if we really want to be prepared for good works, we must experience cleansing.
The apostle’s illustration is clear, isn’t it? Your household has the kinds of containers that he describes. You have the fine china or dinner dishes that are only brought out for special occasions. They are used for honorable purposes. Meanwhile, there is also the trash bin…or maybe even more graphic, the container that is carried around when a person feels nauseous. It serves a less honorable purpose. God’s children are to be like the first kind of container.
We are to be…
- A vessel for honor
- Useful for the Master
- Truly prepared to do the good works that are part and parcel of the Christian life
In order to do any of those, Paul reminds us that we must cleanse ourselves from the dishonorable things of life. In fact, here is the way that the Apostle John describes our cleansing.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 Jn. 1:9)
Our role is that of confession…of acknowledging the shortcomings of our deeds, words, or thoughts to God. Then did you notice what He does? He forgives…He purifies.
Thank you, Jesus, for making us useful to the Master!