2:19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
This verse is in direct connection to the subject found in verse 17. Hymenaeus and Philetus have broken from the sound doctrine given by Paul; nonetheless, the foundation laid of God remains strong.
We learn in Paul’s prior letter to Timothy that the Church is the pillar and ground for truth (1 Timothy 3:15). Paul is assuring Timothy that the foundation remains despite the apostasy of a few, and that God’s Church remains sealed in Him. Therefore, Timothy’s role as a minister is to build upon the foundation laid and urge the Church to depart from wickedness.
Scripture has numerous examples of God’s sealing, and the Christian has an affirmative illustration of this sealing, as everyone named in Christ is written within the “book of life” (Philippians 4:3). The Lord truly does know them that are His.
2:20-21 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.
If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.
The Church, as the Body of Christ, is diverse. Many times, in a contemporary setting Churches see diversity as skin color, socio-economic background, and the like. Of these things, we are called away from (Galatians 3:28). Our diversity is often characterized in means of functions and spiritual maturity (1 Corinthians 3:2-3; 12:14-18).
Alongside the contextual emphasis on our sealing within Christ, this is referring to spiritual maturity and the reward each will receive in our home in Heaven according to our Christian walk (2 Corinthians 5:2; 10).
Those tried and found faithful by the measure of faith allotted, are like precious gold tried by fire. It is the same idea reciprocated down to the wood and earth vessels. These are those who are sealed in the Body of Christ, yet still cling to their carnality and things contrary to Godliness.
The person who purges themselves from ungodliness by the renewing of the mind, are those known as a vessel unto honor (Romans 12:1-2). This is what the Christian refers to as sanctification or being called out and set apart. The only way to be tried in this manner is by the standard of God’s Holy word, which prepares, renews, and fully furnishes the Christian unto every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
2:22-23 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.
Prior, Paul explains to Timothy what and why to care for the vessel of the soul. Here, Paul gives practical instruction to what purging himself from dishonor looks like. Practically, as Paul taught the Corinthian church, spiritual maturity can be likened to the growing process of child to man/woman.
One must put away childish things and flee youthful lusts in pursuit of the Godly things of God (1 Corinthians 13:11). Also, like Paul taught prior, in this pursuit the Christian will grow in faith, charity, and peace with the other vessels and members of the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 13:13). Among the ranks of these three beautiful qualities, to the Corinthian church Paul taught that the mature Christian would abound in hope as well.
In this teaching to Timothy, Paul refers to a pure heart in light of fellowship with other Christians who pursue righteousness, faith, charity, and peace.
Verse 22 and 23 hold similar content to Paul’s teaching to Titus in Titus 3. It is here that Paul teaches Titus to avoid foolish questions because they are “unprofitable and vain” (Titus 3:9). They are not only unprofitable, but as he teaches Timothy, these are the questions that divide unity.
We can see this with the formation of the hundreds of Christian denominations essentially birthed of “foolish and unlearned questions.”
2:24-26 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
Similar to “strife,” the Greek word for “strive” is machomai and it denotes a quarrel, fight, and contention. Gentleness and humility are one of the many characteristics of a mature Christian (Romans 12:16-18; 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12).
In his last writing, Paul is affirming in Timothy the model, Godly lifestyle. An interesting quality that may be disregarded in a contemporary setting is the ability to teach.
“Those that oppose themselves” is referring to a person who is living in an error or sin, but perhaps does realize the detriment of that error unto themselves. This may be a person who is outside of the Body of Christ or a Christian within who is stuck in a habit of carnality. We know this because of Paul’s exhortation of gentleness “unto all men.”
It has been a cultural stigma that only pastors teach. Nonetheless, by boldness in the Spirit and refinement by the Scripture, everyone is able to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and teach of repentance (Turning one’s mind) toward God’s truth. We are enabled to do so, first of all, only by belief in His Gospel (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).
A Christian’s faithfulness to the teaching of the Word may be the tool by which God’s Spirit convicts and corrects a Christian away from bondage by the Devil. This action should never be diminished or reserved solely for pastoral leadership, otherwise, this may be to the detriment of one’s eternal soul.