What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. 2 Timothy 1:13 (NIV).
Sound teaching lasts a lifetime. When you consider that we humans were made to live forever, sound teaching can therefore last forever. The oldest of the Bible’s books are Job and those of the Pentateuch, each of them between 3400 and 3500 years old. The newest of the Bible are nearly 2000 years old. That you and I are still discussing them today seems to verify that they’re sound teaching, especially since it is the Bible that gave rise to the monastic culture (that preserved ancient knowledge during the Dark Ages), the Reformation and Renaissance, and even western democracy.
That’s sound teaching. It has lasted for centuries, even millienia. Paul understood that. He had had a very personal encounter with the resurrected Jesus Christ, who set him on an informed path of evangelical mission. People won’t do those kinds of things without believing in them, and the fact that so much constructive good happened because of it seems to also verify the sound teachings of Christ. Sure, you can sell your soul to Satan, believe in the magical paganism of Wicca, or follow Mohammed into jihad. In the end, those teachings lead to separation from the God of our fathers, to the second death.
There is a better way.
There is a better way that Paul exhorted Timothy (and us) to follow. Keep true to the teachings of Jesus. You’re only human and you’re going to screw up; so will your friends and congregants. And when you do, run right back to Jesus and confess your failings. Receive His forgiveness, soak up His Spirit and His strength, and begin again (and again and again). Talk about it with everyone you can. Live it out. Run this good race set before you and preach Christ crucified in all you say and do. Go all in on this faith because it’s the only faith that matters, and the only one that will save your immortal soul. There will be hardship and suffering, but remain true to Christ and you will wear a crown of peace in this life, then a thankful crown of reward from Him in the next.
THAT is a better way.
And it all stems from learning that sound teaching. We teach our kids morals, basic math, language skills, and how to get along with each other at a young age; we spend years doing it. Generations past did those same things using God’s Word as the foundation. It isn’t that they knew something we don’t: they simply did better than we’re doing. As long as God permits day and night, there is still time to turn to that better way. How about we start now?
For further reading: Romans 8:9, 2 Timothy 14.
Lord Jesus, YOU are the better way. Forgive me my sins. Thank You for today in which to proclaim You. Guide me today.