By Henry S. Ficklin
(2 Timothy 2:19)
(INTRODUCTION: Henry S. Ficklin (1883-1974) prepared a number of articles in the last few years, which appeared in the Pisgah church bulletin of West Chester, Ohio. He died June 23, 1974; this article was in the July 1974 issue, therefore reflects some of the last teaching he ever prepared. Much is said today about the need for confidence regarding our salvation; notice how Brother Ficklin emphasizes the necessity of the true grounds of confidence. Ron Halbrook, 3536 Dickerson Rd., Nashville, TN.)
“Howbeit the firm foundation standeth having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his arid Let every one that nameth the name of the Lord depart from unrighteousness” (2 Timothy 2:19). These words give us a blessed assurance about God’s work, and the security for true Christians. The future is bright for God’s people. But many cannot be confident, because they live so carelessly. A great many have followed men’s teachings, and they cannot depend upon these. Nothing on earth is more important than our soul’s confidence.
The Lord warned us about this danger. He said, “But know this that in the last days grievous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of self, lovers of money” (2 Timothy 3: i ,2). Again, we are warned, “For the time will come when they will not endure the sound doctrine, but having itching ears will heap to themselves teachers after their own lusts and will turn away their ears from the truth, and turn aside unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:4). A great many people do not want to believe that there is any Hell. Charles T. Russell invented a doctrine that would deny the teaching about eternal punishment. Many other preachers have invented teachings that destroy the truth. Never in the history of the world were so many falsehoods taught in the name of religion. Through the radio and from the press so much comes that will cause a man to lose his soul. In the past few years preachers have brought out the teaching, “Situation Ethics.” Such men do not even look at the New Testament, but will decide it all by what seems good to them. Where will all of this go to? It is alarming.
The Lord urges us to “hold the pattern of sound words, which thou hast heard from me in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:13). Christ is the perfect pattern as a sinless, perfect man. The Church is the pattern of the perfect institution. The New Testament is the pattern of the perfect book while the teachings of the Word of God is the pattern of sound words. Follow it exactly and your souls will be safe for all time to come. Timothy is urged to “Give diligence to present thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
But many are perverting the teachings of the Word of God. Many false teachers have taken up with “profane babblings.” Among these false teachers are Hymenaeus and Philetus. They taught that there is only one resurrection-the rising from the burial of baptism. That is false teaching for we are plainly taught that “for the hour cometh in which all that are in the tombs shall hear his voice and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of judgment” (John 5:28, 29). “Their word will eat as doth a gangrene.” Truly, false doctrine is deadly. Beware!
Some have followed after false teachings. But not all do. And now the Lord tells us “howbeit the firm foundation standeth having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his and let everyone that nameth the name of the Lord depart from unrighteousness.” There are two sides toward this seal. The side toward heaven is this, “The Lord knoweth them that are his.” If every church directory should be lost, the Lord will never forget one of us. And the side toward men is “Let everyone that nameth the name of the Lord depart from unrighteousness.” We can be sure that the foundation will stand, when God knows who are the true Christians, and if Christians live godly lives.
It is a dear thought that the foundation of God will stand forever. We can have a holy confidence. We can be sure about the following that are blessed:
1. Not one word of the Scripture will.be lost-not one “jot” or one “tittle.”
2. The true Church will stand-“the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18).
3. Heaven will be sure, “-wherefore receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken” (Hebrews 12:28, 29).
4. Your salvation and my salvation will be sure, “I know him whom I have believed and I am persuaded that he is able to guard that which I have committed unto him against that day” (2 Timothy 1:12).
The foundation of God is sure to stand. The truth will stand, and your faith will still be dependable, and you will have peace of mind. “We did not follow cunningly devised fables” (1 Peter 1:16). Error will be destroyed, and human denominations and human philosophy. A religious society which had its headquarters between Lexington and Harrodsburg, Kentucky came to an end. A large sign stated when it was established, and when it was “dissolved.”
With a holy confidence and peace of mind we can follow exactly the teachings of God and the Gospel. This assurance is a glorious blessin
Truth Magazine XIX: 8, pp. 120-121
January 2, 1975