“If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” 1 Timothy 5:8
“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” 2 Timothy 3:1-5
“For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach… To the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.” Titus 1:10-11,15b-16
Paul’s aim, and charge, was that everyone possible hear the life-changing gospel, and he had strong words for those who denied its gracious invitation and power. It was one thing to be unable to discern spiritual things because of a hard heart. But to resist them altogether through willful stubbornness and sin, or to profess to know Christ and deny Him and His transforming power in practice, was detestable. (1 Corinthians 2:2-5; 1 Timothy 4:1-5)
Today we put up with soft faith and deficient standards. We tolerate inordinate affections, greed under the moniker of ‘right,’ and man-twisted biblical mandates to coalesce with personal preferences, however unrighteous. We fill our minds with man-speak, our barns with transient treasure, our hours with empty entertainment and endeavor. We excuse meaningless pursuits by checked-off lists and increased ‘likes’ to our accounts. We espouse a low view of God because we neglect, or have forgotten, His highness, and we justify constant flirting with many companions who think even lower by claiming to be an example. But how deep goes our faith, and how lush is its fruit?
Paul is serious about the responsibilities of Christians to live out our profession, and calls conceit and superficiality to account. So is Jesus, who condemns puffed up talk that has no matching walk. And so should we be. Where do we stand condemned because of our denial of Christ and His power, either by initial belief, or by selfish living? He who saved us is able to make all grace abound to us for genuine good deeds He’s prepared for us to do. (Mark 7:6-15; 2 Corinthians 9:8; Ephesians 2:10)
How willing are we to avoid those who consistently dishonor our Lord, or would steal away godly desire? Are we willing to denounce unholy action? Do we regularly match our profession with Christ-like living? We deny the power of the cross every time we succumb to temptation and wallow in the spiritual lowlands. (Titus 2:11-13)
Father, grant me discernment, and give me the mind and heart of Christ for all I meet. Please use my understanding and communication of Your truth to attract those now denying its life-giving grace, and set them free. (1 Corinthians 2:16; Philippians 2:5)