But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will display at the proper time–he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of Lords,”
Flee from all of that greed and power, man of God!
That’s kind of a funny thing to say. Isn’t it obvious that a man of God would flee such things?
It is no doubt from Romans, the Gospels, Numbers, Genesis, Isaiah, and other books of the Bible that we are saved by God’s grace and not by our own efforts at righteousness.
But it’s not so passive, is it? Our default drift is into greed, rejection, covetousness, lust, and all kinds of other rebellion. We must deliberately surrender our control and our lusts over to the Lord. His leadership is so gentle because you have to want it. The devil works in force and manipulation. God is clear, open, and welcoming.
So we fight the good fight. We resist the urges of evil that might look completely acceptable in our culture.
But Paul’s example of how to make the best confession is at Christ’s weakest moment. There He was, being questioned by Pilate, and what did Christ do? He humbly declared the truth and allowed Pilate to act on it however he wished. Jesus didn’t beat Pilate up or miraculously bring some heavenly justice on all of those guards.
Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, and gentleness. These are the hallmarks of life in Christ. Not greed. Not power. Not unfaithfulness.
We fight this fight to aim ourselves toward Jesus. As we aim ourselves, other people will notice and they will aim themselves too. Not everyone, but some.
So that when Jesus appears, it will be obvious who are His people. He’ll know us and with a relief, we’ll know Him.
When you really think about it, this is way better than anything we’d accomplish with our greed or power, so keep on thinking about it. Talk about Jesus while you walk on the road or sit down at the dinner table. As you grow in Him and flee evil, He’ll grow in you. All of the way until the great day of His coming.
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