By Earl Robertson
Paul wrote, “If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work. Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Tim. 2:21, 22). These verses are very revealing, are they not! There are many so-called Christians who, having made this claim for years and years, are yet unuseful. In the kingdom of God, they have accomplished nothing and wonder why. Some seem to never learn that God cannot use a person who will not “purge himself” of sins and “follow after” various virtues.
This purging is not forced, but rather is done by one’s self. Each person must assume this sense of self-duty. It is not a push-button operation! Paul is talking to people who have become Christians. There is another sense in which the Lord purges one (2 Pet. 1:9). When one becomes a Christian, he “puts off the old man” and then “puts on the new.” People form habits which destroy influence and the right to victory in Christ and, when informed of such and admonished, refuse to so purge themselves. The load of sin renders void one’s ability to influentially serve the Lord.
Though one is commanded to purge oneself, this is not all the Lord wants. The Lord wants his people to do righteousness. The above text demands that one follow: (1) righteousness, (2) faith, (3) charity, (4) peace, and (5) have a pure heart. The Bible teaches that the man who “fears God and works righteousness” is accepted with the Lord (Acts 10:34, 35). The commands of the Lord are righteousness (Psa. 119:172). Without faith, one cannot please God (Heb. 11:6). In fact, the one who serves the Lord must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them who diligently seek Him! We walk by faith, says Paul (2 Cor. 5:7). Furthermore, faith comes by hearing the word of God (Rom. 10:17). And without love we are nothing (1 Cor. 13:1-3). The Christian is to add love to his faith (2 Pet. 1:7; 1 Pet. 4:8). We are to follow after peace and even the things that “make for peace” (Rom. 14:19). Some who wear the name of Christ often sacrifice the will of Christ and act according to human wisdom thinking this will produce peace! Not true. Do these things and you will be useful.
Truth Magazine XXIII: 29, p. 469
July 26, 1979