Approved to God

The apostle Paul gave the following exhortation to Timothy.  2 Timothy 2:15 “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”  I encourage you with the same exhortation, but let us investigate what the exhortation should mean to you.

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God.”  Diligent could also be translated to study, to endeavor, or to labor.  The idea is to put significant energy and effort into presenting yourself approved to God.  Many people, who call themselves Christians, do not put much energy into their walk before God.  They don’t read and study the Bible; they don’t meditate on God’s word.  Psalms 1:1-2 “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.”  They seldom pray.  1 Thessalonians 5:17 “Pray without ceasing.”  They do little in the way of having a worthy walk.  Colossians 1:10 “That you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.”  They may have faith but they don’t add to their faith.  2 Peter 1:5-8 “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.  For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Your genuine Christian life requires diligence and effort as you present yourself approved to God.

Your diligence and effort before God is not to earn your salvation.  Salvation is a gift from God.  Ephesians 2:8-10 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”  Your motivation for your diligence and effort should be your love and gratitude for all that God has done for you.  Through Christ you have been redeemed.  You have received the forgiveness of sins.  You have been blessed with every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1).  1 John 4:19 “We love Him because He first loved us.”  Jesus said in John 14:15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”

“A worker who does not need to be ashamed.”  When Jesus was baptized, God spoke from heaven.  Matthew 3:17 “And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’”  Even though you are not Jesus, you also want to be well pleasing to God – you do not want to be ashamed.  In the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), the one talent servant did nothing with his Lord’s money; he should have been ashamed with his performance.  On the judgement day, others will be ashamed of what they have done as Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:22-23 “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’“  Live your life so that you will not be ashamed before God.

“Rightly dividing the word of truth.”  The Greek word translated “rightly dividing” means to make a straight cut.  Figuratively it means to dissect or expound correctly the divine message.  It means to correctly handle, teach and apply the Holy Scriptures.  When you read and study the Bible and when you teach others, you need to give the correct meaning of the Word as it applies to your life and the lives of others.  Many people do not rightly divide the word of truth.  There are many false doctrines which abound from those who incorrectly interpret and apply the scriptures. There are multiple warnings in the Bible against false doctrines, heresies, and false prophets and teachers.  If you depend on the teaching of someone else, that person, even though very sincere, may be wrong.  It is important for you to rightly divide the word of truth for yourself.

In summary, I encourage you to be diligent and put energy into your spiritual walk – that you may do what pleases God so that you will not be ashamed when you stand before Him.  Be careful to correctly handle the Holy Scriptures as you apply them to your life and teach them to others.