The Great Escape: 2 Timothy 2:23-26
“23) But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels. 24) And the Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, 25) with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, 26) and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.” 2 Timothy 2:23-26
Paul again returns to the theme of avoiding heated arguments and foolish speculations. The Lord’s bondservant should display a different temperament. They recognize that you don’t win people by force of argument, but rather by solid teaching, patience and gentleness.
We plant the seed of the gospel, but the Holy Spirit applies it to the heart and mind of the person. If they come to repentance, it’s because God is the one working in them and bringing them to salvation.
It is a waste of time pouring endless effort into an unconverted person and trying to turn them into a fruitful disciple of Christ. This chapter began with Paul instructing Timothy to find faithful men and work with them. (See 2 Timothy2:2) If they are not born-again and filled with the Holy Spirit, your efforts will be in vain.
Verse 26 nails the problem. Non-Christians cannot come to freedom or bear fruit for Jesus Christ because their reason is blinded. They are caught in the devils snare and are being held captive to do his will. They are still salves to the flesh.
Until a person is converted by the Spirit of God, they cannot come to freedom or live a fruitful life. But they can be religious! They can go to church, teach Sunday School and even serve on the church board. Some are even pastors, but they do not and cannot display the fruit of the Spirit. They are operating out of the flesh.
Expect arguments and opposition from them. There will be tension and an inability to discern the mind of Christ or submit to the ways of God. So what is the best game plan to reach religious but unconverted people? Its simple, focus on the gospel and ask God to bring them to repentance and genuine conversion!
I suspect much of the problem with the Western Church is that it is full of unconverted people. In may cases they are in charge of the church.
That’s one of the fringe benefits of persecution. It purifies the church. The unconverted have no stomach to suffer for Christ. Those who are being held captive by the devil to do his will quickly flee when there is a price to pay for the gospel.
Have you noticed the sub theme of the book of 2 Timothy is suffering for the gospel? (2 Timothy 1:8; 2:3) Guess where you find faithful men and women who are ready to grow and glow for God? They emerge from the fire of suffering.
Is it any wonder that the very next verse says; “1) But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come.” Even now the sifting is happening in the Western Church. Genuine believers who hold to biblical truth are starting to shine in the darkness.
During difficult times, true conversions also become more obvious and dramatic because of the huge price to pay for being a follower of Jesus Christ. That’s one reason why I enjoy working with the persecuted church.
I call this text “The Great Escape.” That’s how verse 26 ends! True believers escape the snares of the devil. They are set free by the gospel and the power of God. They are ready for extraordinary growth and fruit bearing for the glory of God!
I need to close with a question; have you escaped the snares of the devil. Have you personally embraced Jesus Christ and the gospel? If not, why not? Jesus invites you to trust in Him. You can do it right now!
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global
The Great Escape: 2 Timothy 2:23-26