Posted by: SandreS | April 14, 2010

Disoriented and Subverted

But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as does gangrene: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some (II Timothy 2:16-18).

In rejecting Paul and his unique message and apostleship, those in Ephesus and the rest of Asia had lost sight of who they were as the called-out ones from among “the nations.” They also lost sight of God’s grand purpose for the ages and where they actually fit into them.

Paul the apostle says unequivocally, “I am the apostle of the Gentiles [i.e., the nations].” Who, then, was their apostle? There can be no answer but that Paul was their apostle – as he is ours – for he was raised up by our ascended Lord specifically that he “should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles” (Romans 15:16), calling out a people for His celestial purpose.

Abandoning Paul and his unique gospel, now the Ephesians had completely lost their way. They were so disoriented that they no longer even had the timing of the resurrection correct – essentially negating it. To teach that the resurrection had already occurred stood in contrast to the important truth of the verse before, that of “rightly dividing the Word of Truth.” Having forsaken Paul and the truth, the resurrection was now being taught out of its proper context. By removing the resurrection from its place in the future and placing it in the past, they removed it from the realm of expectation and faith, and as a result they “overthrew [or subverted] the faith of some.”

Sadly, for many, their faith had been subverted from the confident expectation of resurrection. The resurrection was a vital truth of anticipation taught by Paul, without which resulted in vanity (I Corinthians 15) and now “vain babblings.” The resurrection had become meaningless (vain) to them. They did not look to resurrection: instead the extent of their faith was now that they would go to heaven when they die, or perhaps that Christ would return and save the elect and throw the non-elect in hell.

Abraham had faith that in a future day he would have a son and that all the families of the earth would be blessed in his seed. Our faith is not only in the completed death and resurrection of Christ, but also in our redemption when He returns, ruling and reigning with Him in the ages [eons] to come. The end result of this reign will be the deliverance, reconciliation and glorious subjection of all creation back to God.

The misplacement of the resurrection stands in contrast to the glorious “salvation which is in Christ Jesus with age-lasting [eonian] glory (:10) as well as the faithful sayings that we will be living together with Him, and reigning together with Him if we endure the suffering with Him (:11-13).

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Daily Email Goodies
© 2010

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