The durability of buildings rests on the strength of their foundations. Lay a proper foundation and years later the building will still be standing, even if the structure requires renovation. The principle applies to spiritual structures as well.
In contrast to the crumbling teaching of false teachers, Paul reminds Timothy of the structure God has built into His kingdom. Just as many buildings have a cornerstone indicating the date, name and perhaps intent of the building, God’s kingdom likewise has an inscription.
“Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.” (2 Timothy 2:19)
The building God is erecting is a permanent structure. His design evidences strength, a firmness which is reliable. Well might we sing, “How firm a foundation ye saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith in His excellent word….” God has sealed this foundation with principles which embrace both divine sovereignty and human responsibility.
1) From God’s side – “The Lord knows those who are his…” Lots of people may profess a relationship with the Lord, but only those ‘known’ by the Lord actually posses this relationship.
2) From the professing believer’s side – “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.” True believers take sin seriously. Those who confess the Lord’s name combine their confession with consecration. Those who profess a relationship with God yet tolerate sin or excuse its presence in their thoughts, words or deeds, demonstrate the counterfeit nature of their profession.
Other Scriptures confirm this engaging balance of sanctifying truth –
Read I John 1:5-2:2 where John, an early follower of the Lord defines and applies the truth that God is light. A relationship with God is marked by living by the truth, confession of sin and a full reliance upon the finished work of Jesus Christ.
Read John 2:23-25 where Jesus “would not entrust himself” to the many people who even believed in his name. Here’s the principle – Don’t be hasty to assure a person they are in a right standing with God. Praying a prayer, walking an aisle, etc does not guarantee salvation. “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves,” Paul urges the Corinthians.
I like the illustration of leaving home and wondering if you have ‘shut off’ some electrical appliance. Should you keep going? Should you go back home and check? My counsel? – Go back and check. Settle the doubt by going back to the source. You won’t retreat the return trip. You’ll proceed at peace because your mind is settled with the facts. Exploring the essence of our faith, what we’re trusting, what we’re relying upon is a practical way of applying 2 Timothy 2:19.