Flee From Youthful Lusts: 2 Timothy 2:21-22
“21) Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work. 22) Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” 2 Timothy‬ ‭2:21-22‬ ‭
There are two sides to the coin of personal cleansing. First, we are forgiven and cleansed by the blood of Jesus. His work on the cross paid for our salvation. Second, we are “to cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit perfecting holiness in the sight of God.” (2 Corinthians 7:1). We need both sides of this coin. Let me tie a few Scriptures together.
After his sin with Bathsheba, David cried out to God in Palms 51:2; “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.” He was crying out to God to cleanse him. Only God can forgive and cleanse away the stain of our sin.
But then God comes back in Isaiah 1:16 and says; “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from my sight.” Repentance means that we turn from our sinful ways.
But you say; “Yes, but this is Old Testament, can you show me the two sides of the cleansing coin in the New Testament?”
That’s a valid question. When you tie Hebrews 9:14 and James 4:8 together you discover the same paradox in the New Testament. On one hand we are cleansed by the blood of Jesus. One the other hand James says; “8) Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands you sinners and purify your hearts you double minded.” We are responsible for part of the cleansing process.
Paul was writing to Timothy because he was becoming lax with his responsibility to cleanse himself from these things. (See 2 Timothy 2:21) Paul was reminding Timothy to “22) flee from youthful lusts, and pursue righteousness, faith and peace with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.”
Most Christians want to make God 100% responsible for their sanctification. But it doesn’t work that way. Repentance is your responsibility. You need to change your attitudes, put away your alcohol, throw away your romance novels, turn off your television, block your porn sites, button up your blouse and pull up your zipper. God will give His grace to help, but you need to flee from these things.
Stop making excuses for yourself! You determine the kind of vessel you are going to be for the Master. As I mentioned in the last section, you decide if you are going to be a golden candle stick holder or a potty pot.
You are no different than any other Christian. All believers struggle with sin and temptation and need to embrace the journey to personal freedom. Salvation is the beginning of a life long process of growing deeper and walking closer with a God.
When you fix your eyes on Jesus and walk toward Him, your back is automatically turned to the world. To pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace means that you are actively fleeing from youthful lusts.
The word “pursue” means that you chase after something will full focus and attention. You let go of all distractions and go on a relentless pursuit. In this case, you run from youthful lusts and actively run toward Jesus and righteousness.
God is always faithful to do His part. He so loved people that gave His only begotten Son to die on the cross and pay in full the penalty of our sin. Justification is based solely on personal faith in Jesus Christ.
But you and I have a crucial role to play in our sanctification. Here is the big question; “Are you actively fleeing from youthful lusts and pursuing Jesus Christ?” Paul was warning Timothy that he was getting sloppy and negligent in this matter.
So, when does a person “age out” of youthful lusts? It has zero to do with physical age and everything to do with obedience and spiritual maturity. The flesh never grows past being a teenager.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global