Many years ago, while working as a Motor Mechanic, I remember seeing a vehicle that looked surprisingly well presented and at the same time, very wrong. It was a work utility, with a style-side body. Every panel was straight and the paint was in good condition. Quite remarkable for a fifteen-year-old work vehicle. But it just did not sit right.
At first, I thought it had a flat tyre, but no, it was sitting far too low and on an awkward angle at the back. As I stepped nearer and looked into the cargo area, I saw the problem. Severe rust! In fact, even though the outer body was unmarked, the load area was so incredibly rusted, that the spring hangers for the rear axle had pushed their way up through the floor.
It seems the vehicle had been used to deliver bags of fertilizer. Highly acidic chemicals had leached out over time and soaked into the chassis and had eaten away at the vehicle’s backbone. I was reminded of this peculiar sight while going through 2 Timothy 2:14-18.
The passage is a warning against false teachers, who create confusion and mistrust in young believers, which in the end will eat away at their faith, till having nothing left to stand upon, collapse into sin and destruction.
Often this takes the form, of subjecting the Scripture to the opinions of Scholars. These men, would take the Word of God captive and through endless references to other scholars, complicate and undermine the authority of Scripture. They would argue endlessly over the meanings and shades of meanings of certain words until they could make Scripture appear to say the very opposite to its actual message.
This practice is contrasted in verse 15, with Paul’s instruction to Timothy. We are to rightly divide the Word of truth. That is a funny expression. It is taken from a trades context, where a good tradesman, would measure and cleanly cut the material they worked with; be it wood or stone or even cloth. In other words, we do not twist or manipulate the Word of God, to support our sinful habits.
In recent years, with some of the controversies, that have plagued both Society and the Church, we saw that happen. So-called Scholars would say that we ‘mistranslated the Bible when talking about homosexual behavior. Or they suggested we had not understood the ‘meta-narrative’ (the general message) about reconciling the World to Christ. Changing ‘Go and Sin No More, to ‘you are welcome as you are, do not change’.
Yet when we engage in such speech, the ideas generated can eat into the hearts of new and undeveloped believers. Such words we are told become like a gangrenous infection that eats away at their faith and destroys hope.
The Bible is meant to be read and accepted at its face value. ‘Go and Sin No More’, means precisely that. It is the call to the new believer (and all of us for that matter) to turn from deliberately choosing sin, and to start following Jesus.