EP98 Ghosting

Hello and welcome to episode 98 of The Berean Manifesto, brought to you by The Ekklēsian House.  This is Pastor Bill and over the next 10 minutes, or so, we’re going to take a look at 2 Timothy 2:22, “Flee from youthful passions, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.”

 

You’ve heard of ghosting right?  Wikipedia says, “Ghosting is breaking off a relationship by ceasing all communication and contact with the former partner without any apparent warning or justification, as well as ignoring the former partner’s attempts to reach out or communicate.”  In 2 Timothy 2:22 when we read the word Paul used in that verse as flee, it’s the Greek word:

G5343 φεύγω pheugō fyoo'-go Apparently a primary verb; to run away (literally or figuratively); by implication to shun; by analogy to vanish: - escape, flee (away).

In modern terms, Paul is telling us to ghost our youthful passions. But what, specifically, are these passions that Paul is talking about here?

 

Weget a glimpse into the answer to that question when we read on, 2 Timothy 2:23-26 says, “But reject foolish and ignorant disputes because you know that they breed quarrels.  The Lord’s servant must not quarrel but must be gentle to everyone, able to teach, and patient, instructing his opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance leading them to the knowledge of the truth.  Then they may come to their senses and escape the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.”

 

I gotta tell you, recently I got into one of these foolish and ignorant disputes on Facebook.  If you’ve been following along with The Berean Manifesto for a while then you’ve probably noticed that I’m pretty emphatic about 1 Corinthians 13:13, “Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love—but the greatest of these is love.”  Everything about my theological dogma can be summed up in this verse. Christianity exists in these three categories; faith in Christ, the hope of salvation, the love of God with all our heart and loving our neighbor as we do ourselves.  With the greatest of these being love. Out of that dogma sections of scripture like 1 John 4:7-11 hit me deep. It says, “Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.  The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his one and only Son into the world so that we might live through Him. Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Dear friends, if God loved us in this way, we also must love one another.”

 

So when someone preaches something like God only loves Christians and hates sinners it offends me.  This is what happened in this online encounter. There are those out there teaching and preaching that God hates sinners.  The theological thinking there baffles my mind and I defended what I believe. I tried to defend my beliefs with gentleness and patience.  This thing that Paul asks of Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:24 is not easy. I’m not proud of it, but I’m not going to try to hide it, I’m not ashamed to admit that I failed in upholding this ideal in the first of three encounters with some folks upholding this God hates sinners theology.  In the second and third, however, I did much better. When the other party turned quarrelsome and started hurling insults of my needing to repent for teaching false doctrine by saying that God loves I took Paul’s advice and fled. I ghosted them, I reached up and activated that little block option on Facebook.  If you can’t walk out that 2 Timothy 2:24 to “not quarrel, but must be gentle to everyone, able to teach, and be patient,” then you should flee, vanish, ghost.

 

So, what set this second and third encounter off on Facebook was the question, “Is God’s love conditional?”  My response to this question is, “God’s love has always been conditional, Jesus met those conditions once for all.”  We see this in 1 Peter 3:18, “For Christ also suffered for sins once for all…”

 

Paul explains in Hebrews 10, “Since the law has only a shadow of the good things to come, and not the reality itself of those things, it can never perfect the worshipers by the same sacrifices they continually offer year after year.  Otherwise, wouldn’t they have stopped being offered, since the worshipers, purified once and for all, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? But in the sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year after year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.  Therefore, as he was coming into the world, he said: You did not desire sacrifice and offering, but you prepared a body for me. You did not delight in whole burnt offerings and sin offerings. Then I said, “See— it is written about me in the scroll— I have come to do your will, O God.” After he says above, You did not desire or delight in sacrifices and offerings, whole burnt offerings and sin offerings (which are offered according to the law), he then says, See, I have come to do your will.  He takes away the first to establish the second. By this will, we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all time. Every priest stands day after day ministering and offering the same sacrifices time after time, which can never take away sins. But this man, after offering one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God.”

 

Jesus Christ, “after offering one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God.”  It is for this reason that we walk out 1 John 4:19, “We love because He first loved us.” Go back and read 1 John 4 and you’ll see this statement isn’t one of only loving God, but equally a statement about loving others the way you want to be loved.  Read it and then go out there and love on those who can’t love you back, those who are hurting, those who are hungry, those who are a slave to sin like you once were before God’s love set you free.

 

Just a little tag on the end here.  When you read through Hebrews 10 it almost sounds like it’s a universal message.  That when Christ’s sacrifice for sin was offered that it erased sin for everyone across the board no matter what.  I understand how you could see that, but this is just a snapshot of a bigger message that Paul is trying to get across.  We will talk more about this in the coming weeks of the podcast, but I don’t want to leave you confused. The message Paul is bringing in Hebrews 10 is not one of universal salvation.  That’s not how salvation works. It’s a message of universal love enableing salvation. More on that to come.

 

This is Pastor Bill saying, “Until next time…”

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