2 Timothy 4:6-18
Justifying themselves instead of humbling themselves before the Lord and allowing God to justify us has been a major problem within the church since the time of Jesus upon this earth.
Many people consider themselves Godly because they believe in God and go to church, but the key indication is not such belief, but whether or not they are living in the heavenly will of God, and unfortunately many clergy are among those who say they believe, but still live in the ways of this world with all its violence and death.
People cannot justify themselves…only God can justify us.
Psalm 65:1-13 is a psalm of David, and as we look at these verses, consider whether there is any room for people to be justifying themselves.
1. There will be silence before Thee, and praise in Zion, O God;
And to Thee the vow will be performed.
2. O Thou who dost hear prayer,
To Thee all men come.
Unfortunately, most people don’t come to the Lord, and this is one of the reasons that so many people are justifying themselves.
3. Iniquities prevail against me;
As for our transgressions,
Thou dost forgive them.
We don’t believe there is any place in the Bible where God forgives unrepentant sinners; He always has the capacity to forgive, but He only seems to exercise it when people are repentant.
4. How blessed is the one whom Thou dost choose, and bring near to Thee,
To dwell in Thy courts.
We will be satisfied with the goodness of Thy house,
Thy holy temple.
God seems to bring people to Him who sincerely desire to live in His heavenly will.
And remember that God, the Holy Spirit, dwells within all true believers, and seems to speak to all other people in the form of their conscience.
5. By awesome deeds Thou dost answer us in righteousness, O God of our
Thou who art the trust of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest sea;
6. Who dost establish the mountains by His strength,
Being girded with might;
7. Who dost still the roaring of the seas,
The roaring of their waves,
And the tumult of the peoples.
Yes, God does all these things, but at the same time He also allows many people to stew in the results of their own iniquity.
8. And they who dwell in the ends of the earth stand in awe of Thy signs;
Thou dost make the dawn and the sunset shout for joy.
Many people may be awed at the marvelous creations of God, but for some strange reason they also seem to want to live in the corrupt way of this earth.
9. Thou dost visit the earth, and cause it to overflow;
Thou dost greatly enrich it;
The stream of God is full of water;
Thou dost prepare their grain, for thus Thou dost prepare the earth.
10. Thou dost water its furrows abundantly;
Thou dost settle its ridges;
Thou dost soften it with showers;
Thou dost bless its growth.
God has provided rain, but He has also allowed droughts to occur brought on by human iniquity, and human caused global warming.
11. Thou hast crowned the year with Thy bounty,
And Thy paths drip with fatness.
Just as God has provided rain and allowed droughts to occur, so can He allow famine to overtake the land.
12. The pastures of the wilderness drip,
And the hills gird themselves with rejoicing.
We also see a lot of cursing and ungodly ways, even in the midst of His Godly ones; some are justifying themselves while others wait upon the Lord to justify them.
13. The meadows are clothed with flocks,
And the valleys are covered with grain;
They shout for joy, yes, they sing.
We also strongly believe that the raising of animals is a worldly endeavor that is really against God’s heavenly will.
In Joel 2:27-32, the prophet writes about the Lord justifying people and not anyone justifying themselves.
27. "Thus you will know that I am in the midst of Israel,
And that I am the LORD your God
And there is no other;
And My people will never be put to shame.
People may know this because they have heard it or read it, but do they know it in their soul and spirit, which we believe is critical to the meaning of this verse?
One other thing that we always need to remember is that the Lord’s people are not necessarily the ones who say they are, but the ones who live according to His heavenly will.
28 "And it will come about after this
That I will pour out My
Spirit on all mankind;
And your sons and daughters will prophesy,
Your old men will dream dreams,
Your young men will see visions.
There is a very interesting aspect to this translation’s use of the word “mankind” because the Hebrew word is “basar” meaning flesh, and we strongly believe that “flesh” more accurately reflects the original meaning of what Joel wrote, for we see evidence that God’s Spirit is definitely upon all flesh and not just that of mankind; and this would add even deeper meaning to the depths of understanding to the prophesy, dreams, and visions of the people.
29. "And even on the male and female servants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days.
We don’t understand the reason for separating the male and female servants from the other humans, and remember that throughout the ages, humans have made animals into their servants and slaves.
30. "And I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth,
Blood, fire, and columns of smoke.
31. "The sun will be turned into darkness,
And the moon into blood,
Before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.
And even if this is an end-times prophecy, portions of it seem to go back to the days of Jesus upon this earth, for to us it sure seems like the Holy Spirit is, and has been, pouring out the Spirit upon all flesh.
32. "And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD
Will be delivered;
For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem
There will be those who escape,
As the LORD has said,
Even among the survivors whom the LORD calls.
We don’t believe that the meaning of “delivered” necessarily refers to people being delivered in their lifetime upon this earth, but rather delivered into everlasting life with the Lord in heaven, for as we should know from history, many truly-believing Christians have died at the hands of despots.
As we look at Luke 18:9-14, let’s consider what we just discussed about people justifying themselves in the previous passage from Joel.
9. And He also told this parable to certain ones who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt:
These are the kinds of people who are justifying themselves, which is the reason that Jesus was and is directing this parable toward them.
10. "Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee, and the other a tax-gatherer.
11. "The Pharisee stood and was praying thus to himself, 'God, I thank Thee that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax-gatherer.
12. 'I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.'
This is a perfect example of people who are justifying themselves; they see themselves in their own mind and not as God sees them.
13. "But the tax-gatherer, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, the sinner!'
This tax-gatherer realized that he had nothing to justify himself with so he repented and sought forgiveness.
14. "I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than
the other; for everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, but he who
humbles himself shall be exalted."
So the Lord, who sees the intent of the heart and soul, knows who is truly justified.
People justifying themselves is not in the heavenly will of God.
As we look at 2 Timothy 4:6-18, let’s see if there is any evidence of people justifying themselves before others or the Lord.
6. For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come.
Paul knows that he is going to be killed because of his faith, but at the same time he seems to be like people justifying themselves.
Paul may be different, but in my opinion, we should insert the word “tried” into these clauses, such as I have tried to fight the good fight…
7. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;
8. in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.
Again, this may be true, but I believe that the gift of righteousness rests only with the Lord, and it is not something that we can know for sure about ourselves.
On the surface, this sounds like Paul is telling the Lord what he wanted and expected.
Then Paul switched the subject to speak about his own life here on earth for he wanted to see Timothy before he is died.
9. Make every effort to come to me soon;
10. for Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia.
To me, this sounds like Paul is complaining, which is a way of people justifying themselves by saying that they deserve to have other people with them or ministering to him.
11. Only Luke is with me. Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service.
12. But Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus.
13. When you come bring the cloak which I left at Troas with Carpus, and the books, especially the parchments.
14. Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds.
Again, only the Lord should be judge and jury, and it is only He who will make this decision.
15. Be on guard against him yourself, for he vigorously opposed our teaching.
Yes, we need to be careful of such people and protect ourselves from them the best we can in the heavenly will of God, but beyond that, we should leave them in the hands of the Lord.
16 At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them.
That same thing happened with Jesus, but Jesus is God and not we or Paul.
17. But the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me, in order that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was delivered out of the lion's mouth.
18. The Lord will deliver me from every evil deed, and will bring me
safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
Yes, the Lord did this, but Paul was not delivered from death at the hands of evil people, for their evilness toward Paul ended with his death, and then Paul was delivered from the second death.
We need to do the best we can to see ourselves and the world around us with the eyes of God.
People cannot be justifying themselves before God; only the Lord can do that.
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