Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pentecost 21c - 2 Timothy 3:14—4:5

The trouble with itchy ears is you can’t hear very well and wandering into myths that distort the truth is bound to follow when one creates God in one’s own image. The God who is love, first last and always, also puts limitations on liberty and demands more than just the desire of one’s heart with consequences to come should one fail to live up to the sound teaching of the truth. Sound teaching doesn’t always sit well with us, partly because we prefer not hear the truth about ourselves. But the sacred writings reveal the God who is both and. Both the one who is just and the one who justifies is how Paul puts it to the Romans. Which is why the sound teaching of the Lutheran doctrine of Law and Gospel is the cure for hard of hearing itchy ears. The Law is not diminished by the Gospel, rather it is the necessary first word about us and our world so that convicted by the just God we are drawn to the God who justifies for the Gospel trumps the Law and its demands and reveals the ultimate truth of God’s desire that all would be saved and come to the knowledge of truth. (1 Timothy 2:4)

1 comment:

  1. It is good to read Timothy as intended, as Paul's instructions to a young man who was rather wet behind the ears but who Paul saw ability and promise in. I always have to keep that in mind when I read some of this, as Paul's thoughts on women, deacons, etc., though perhaps ideal strike me as a bit impractical in our imperfect world. It's sort of like the current trend towards making abstinence instruction the basis for teenage sexuality teaching. It's good teaching, but it has been proven not to work very well outside of the power of active, daily relationship with God. Perhaps we need both-and across the board, law and Gospel, instruction and relationship, failure and reconciliation.
    In verse 4 however, we're dealing with more than Paul's opinion or first century culture or details of Jewish law. Paul makes an emphatic statement about God's desire - that God wants all people to be saved - restored - reconciled, presumably for this life and the next, and that there's a profound connection between salvation and truth. I'll buy your both-and again, and am well aware that we have a both-and God while living in an either-or world.
    But, a question. If God desires all people to be saved, why aren't they. Is it because as some say, God only chose to save some according to his purpose in election? 1 Timothy 2:4 seems to contradict that notion. Or is it as my Baptist friends say, that salvation for all is God's desire but that each person has to accept or reject Jesus Christ?
    I'm not sure I know the answer, but I think it is a good question. My heart tells me though, that the answer somehow has something to do with us - believers - and who are and how we live our lives.