Saturday, October 29, 2016
“This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes” (2 Timothy 1:15 KJV).
Years ago, one verse impacted my thinking about Christianity in a very mighty way. That verse was today’s Scripture.
Not having a familiarity with the Bible that I should have had at the time, I had assumed that apostasy (people turning from the truth) had only occurred in recent decades. Today’s Scripture radically shifted my view. Nearly all of Paul’s converts in modern Turkey—Ephesians, Galatians, Colossians, Laodiceans, et cetera—had turned away from him… some 20 centuries ago!
We must bear in mind that the Apostle Paul was just as human as we are. There were times of discouragement, no doubt especially concerning today’s Scripture. Here he was, sitting in a Roman dungeon, knowing that he was soon to die for Jesus Christ. He had received some terrible, heartbreaking news. So many of the dear Christians he had known decades previous had now abandoned his ministry and message. Despite the repeated warnings to be vigilant against Satan’s policy of evil, they had not faithfully held on to the grace doctrines the Holy Spirit through him had delivered to them. It was such a mass apostasy that I am sure Paul’s flesh got the advantage at times. His thoughts wondered, “Is this the end of Christianity?” Yet, the Holy Spirit led him to write in 2 Timothy 2:9: “…but the word of God is not bound [confined, limited].” (No, it was not the end of Christianity!)
Dear brethren, when we think about Christianity today, perhaps we conclude this is the “last generation.” With the world so bad, becoming increasingly anti-Christian, how can Christianity continue? If we look at it from the human aspect, it really is hopeless! However, we use the eyes of faith to see something else entirely. We can rest assured, beloved, that if Christianity lasted 2000 years, that it was able to reach us, it will continue even if Jesus Christ was to return 2000 years from now. Religious cults will fade, denominations founded by men will pass away, but we know “the word of the Lord endureth for ever” (1 Peter 1:25)! 🙂