“therefore…” [2 timothy 2:10a]
therefore. a pivotal word in the bible. in pastor school the teach you that when you see the word “therefore” in scripture you have to figure out what the “therefore” is “there for.” i know…pastors can be awfully cheesy. but the heart behind that cheese is actually one of the most important tenants in studying scripture.
what follows the word “therefore” is built upon what comes before it. the text following the word “therefore” is directly tied to the text before it. what follows the conjunction is almost always a command or an action. an imperative. in this case “i [paul] endure everything…” but if we read the scripture and only see the commands we are only getting half of the story. the text before the “therefore” is almost always a statement of truth. an indicative. in this passage, “the word of God is not bound.”
do you see how tightly and beautifully these two pieces are tied?! the reason paul is capable of enduring everything for the sake of the elect is because he knows the unchanging truth that God’s word cannot be stopped by anything. the indicative empowers the imperative. or, in other words, the truth empowers what to do.
the beauty of scripture is that it clearly lays out God’s direct call for our lives. but the most amazing part is that his call is built on his truth. truth and command. built upon each other. inseparable.
except that we constantly try to separate it.
here’s a truth. i’m tall. 6’ 2”. not a giant, but pretty tall. that’s true. because of that truth i take certain actions, such as push my seat all the way back when i get in the car or duck under low hanging tree branches. if i started doubting the truth that i am tall, i might change my actions. but no matter how much i believe i am short, if i don’t duck under low hanging branches, i will bang my head on them.
if God’s word could be bound, paul would never be able to endure everything. if believers did not spend eternity with Jesus, we would never be able to grieve with hope. if God does not forgive sin then i will never be able to forgive those that sin against me.
so, as you evaluate your walk with the Lord, if there are commands that you find difficult to follow, areas where you actively disobey God, it is likely that you are not convinced of the truth that empowers that command. you are believing a lie over the truth.
therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie… [romans 1:24–25]
sitting in the presence of the Lord confess the areas of your disobedience, your sin. ask for his forgiveness. and ask him to replace the lie you are believing with truth. the character of God as forgiving is true. so our confession of sin is an action we can have confidence in.
if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. [1 john 1:9]
~ keith kozlowski