Serving Faithfully Despite Hardship
So you, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And entrust what you heard me say in the presence of many others as witnesses to faithful people who will be competent to teach others as well. Take your share of suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one in military service gets entangled in matters of everyday life; otherwise he will not please the one who recruited him. Also, if anyone competes as an athlete, he will not be crowned as the winner unless he competes according to the rules. The farmer who works hard ought to have the first share of the crops. Think about what I am saying and the Lord will give you understanding of all this.
Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David; such is my gospel, for which I suffer hardship to the point of imprisonment as a criminal, but God’s message is not imprisoned! So I endure all things for the sake of those chosen by God, that they too may obtain salvation in Christ Jesus and its eternal glory. This saying is trustworthy:
If we died with him,
we will also live with him.
If we endure, we will also reign with him.
If we deny him, he will also deny us.
If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, since he cannot deny himself.
Dealing with False Teachers
Remind people of these things and solemnly charge them before the Lord not to wrangle over words. This is of no benefit; it just brings ruin on those who listen. Make every effort to present yourself before God as a proven worker who does not need to be ashamed, teaching the message of truth accurately. But avoid profane chatter, because those occupied with it will stray further and further into ungodliness, and their message will spread its infection like gangrene. Hymenaeus and Philetus are in this group. They have strayed from the truth by saying that the resurrection has already occurred, and they are undermining some people’s faith. However, God’s solid foundation remains standing, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from evil.”
Now in a wealthy home there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also ones made of wood and of clay, and some are for honourable use, but others for ignoble use. So if someone cleanses himself of such behaviour, he will be a vessel for honourable use, set apart, useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. But keep away from youthful passions, and pursue righteousness, faithfulness, love, and peace, in company with others who call on the Lord from a pure heart. But reject foolish and ignorant controversies, because you know they breed infighting. And the Lord’s slave must not engage in heated disputes but be kind toward all, an apt teacher, patient, correcting opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance and then knowledge of the truth and they will come to their senses and escape the devil’s trap where they are held captive to do his will.