Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.2 Timothy 1:13(NASB)
There are many 'patterns' in the Word of God that are there for our learning which act as illustrations of godly living. Christ's life was one such pattern, and His life was lived in the way that God desires all His children to live - a sacrificial life of dependent trust in the Lord for all things, a holy life that is prepared to say, "Thy will, not mine be done," to the glory of God.
Paul used his own life as an example of how to live in spirit and in truth - how to live by faith and not by sight. He demonstrated a life that had died to its own desires and lived for Christ alone, until he was enabled to say, "The life that I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God... it is not I that live but Christ Who lives in me." Paul's life was not his own. It was a life that was lived in sacrificial service to his heavenly Lord.
Just as his life was a living testimony of a godly life, so Paul's teachings are to remain as a benchmark for godly living and sound doctrine. "Hold fast to the form of sound words," he instructed Timothy, "Retain the standard and pattern of my doctrine," he insisted. Keep teaching the unchangeable truth which was breathed out by the Holy Spirit into the Word of truth - was the message that Paul was keen to instil in his young protégé... and be careful not to change it or modify God's Word to fit in with the ever-changing philosophies and worldview of this fallen world system.
The teachings of Paul are a healthy outline of sound doctrine. Paul's words should not only act as a model of teaching or become the archetype of sound doctrine, but care should be taken that the truth of the gospel of God, which is recorded in Scripture, is not watered-down or discarded as being old-fashioned. Neither should its message be 'softened' in order to become socially accepted or politically correct.
Not only are we to stay true to the never-changing written Word of God, which was inspired by the Spirit of truth, but this glorious gospel of God is to be delivered with faith and shared in love - and should remain our benchmark for truth.
Without faith it is impossible to please God and love, alone, comes through Jesus Christ our Lord. Faith must never be compromised but the truth must always be delivered in love. Similarly, the truth must never be compromised BUT the truth should always be shared by faith and in love.
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your written Word. I pray that I may retain the standard of sound words that was delivered to the saints by the apostle Paul. I pray that I would share the whole counsel gospel of God and hold fast to the truth without compromise. Enable me, I pray, to deliver the truth in faith and in love, to the glory of God the Father. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.
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