The Gentle Persuasion Of Truth
Truth has its own persuasive power, because Jesus Christ is the Truth. Truth is embedded in the character of God. Unlike the Greek philosophers of Paul’s day, who aggressively argued their convictions, God’s servants had no need to do that. Teaching the gospel and disciplining believers is not a personal contest; it is the unveiling of God’s mind and heart through the Scriptures. A true response cannot be forced. Those who recognise the truth and want to obey it, will receive it. Oratorical trickery is unnecessary. Receiving truth from God is not just an intellectually rational response; it marks a growing relationship.
So Timothy needed to be encouraged that he could gently instruct the ignorant, and patiently teach the wayward. He should not consider that when people rejected the Apostles’ teaching they were rejecting him; they were rejecting God. But he should still teach any who would listen, hoping and praying that God would change their hearts and that sinners would be released from Satan’s grip; and set free to love and serve the Lord.
Many believers are too frightened to speak about Jesus. They think that they may be beaten down by arguments which they cannot answer. Some teachers are happy in their pulpits but reluctant to dialogue with people who are seeking truth. However it is good for people to ask questions – as children do. When God’s Word is presented clearly, it has its own internal power (Hebrews 4:12-14) to convince people’s hearts. St Augustine said, “The truth is like a lion. You do not have to defend it. Let it loose. It will defend itself”. So be kind and tell the truth clearly.
© Dr Paul Adams