Honest mistakes happen all the time. Sinful opposition confronts us just as often. We stand there threatened facing potential consequences and loss brought upon us by others. We’re perhaps fearful. This is not what we had planned in the least. Damage control must be done. It’s our test by Providence not to be passed on to another. It’s time for godly opposition, but what does that look like?
This is the life we’re called to by God, yes, to oppose but with what end in sight?
Maybe you’ve asked yourself these questions:
- How do we keep from losing sight of the end goal while facing this difficult providence?
- How can we keep from becoming a stumbling block as we know see clearly by the opposition we’re facing what one is?
- What does God prescribe we do as we are tempted to be prideful when we’re opposed?
- How can we keep our minds clear enough in order to make plans for restoration redeeming that which may potentially be lost?
Matthew Henry gives us insight.
I always enjoy reading Matthew Henry, here he expounds on 2 Tim. 2:23-26
He cautions him against contention, and, to prevent this (v. 23), cautions him against foolish and unlearned questions, that tend to no benefit, strifes of words. Those who advanced them, and doted upon them, thought themselves wise and learned; but Paul calls them foolish and unlearned. The mischief of these is that they gender strifes, that they breed debates and quarrels among Christians and ministers. It is very remarkable how often, and with what seriousness, the apostle cautions Timothy against disputes in religion, which surely was not without some such design as this, to show that religion consists more in believing and practising what God requires than in subtle disputes.—The servant of the Lord must not strive, v. 24. Nothing worse becomes the servant of the Lord Jesus, who himself did not strive nor cry (Mt. 12:19), but was a pattern of meekness, and mildness, and gentleness to all, than strife and contention. The servant of the Lord must be gentle to all men, and thereby show that he is himself subject to the commanding power of that holy religion which he is employed in preaching and propagating.—Apt to teach. Those are unapt to teach who are apt to strive, and are fierce and froward. Ministers must be patient, bearing with evil, and in meekness instructing (v. 25) not only those who subject themselves, but those who oppose themselves. Observe, 1. Those who oppose themselves to the truth are to be instructed; for instruction is the scripture-method of dealing with the erroneous, which is more likely to convince them of their errors than fire and faggot: he does not bid us kill their bodies, under pretence of saving their souls. 2. Such as oppose themselves are to be instructed in meekness, for our Lord is meek and lowly (Mt. 11:29), and this agrees well with the character of the servant of the Lord (v. 24): He must notstrive, but be gentle to all men, apt to teach, patient. This is the way to convey truth in its light and power, and to overcome evil with good,Rom. 12:21. 3. That which ministers must have in their eyes, in instructing those who oppose themselves, must be their recovery: If God,peradventure, will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth. Observe, (1.) Repentance is God’s gift. (2.) It is a gift with aperadventure in the case of those who oppose themselves; and therefore, though we are not to despair of the grace of God, yet we must take heed of presuming upon it. To the acknowledging of the truth. (3.) The same God who gives us the discovery of the truth does by his grace bring us to the acknowledging of it, otherwise our hearts would continue in rebellion against it, for we are to confess with our mouths as well as to believe with our hearts, Rom. 10:9, 10. And thus sinners recover themselves out of the snare of the devil; see here, [1.] The misery of sinners: they are in thesnare of the devil, and are led captive by him at his will, v. 26. They are slaves to the worst of task-masters; he is the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience, Eph. 2:2. They are taken in a snare, and in the worst snare, because it is the devil’s; they are as fishes that are taken in n evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare. Further, They are under Ham’s curse (a servant of servants shall he be,Gen. 9:25), they are slaves to him who is but a slave and vassal. [2.] The happiness of those who repent: they recover themselves out of this snare, as a bird out of the snare of the fowler; the snare is broken and they have escaped; and the greater the danger the greater the deliverance. When sinners repent, those who before were led captive by the devil at his will come to be led into the glorious liberty of the children of God, and have their wills melted into the will of the Lord Jesus. The good Lord recover us all out of the snare.
Also consider these helpful resources.
I have listened to each and every one of them and they all cast a hopeful wise perspective. They are full of answers I was looking for to the above questions and many more.
Gossip: The Plague of the Church – Scott Brown
Fruit of the Spirit – Greg Bahnsen
Fruit of the Spirit Gospel Audio Collection – Brown, Baucham, Swanson, Strauch, Einwechter.