“But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.”
II Timothy 2:16-18
Paul instructed Timothy about the danger of false doctrine and warned him to “shun profane and vain babblings.” Error should not be treated casually, for it will “increase unto more ungodliness.” The influence of wrong doctrine is destructive. It spreads, contaminates, and will eventually destroy. The example is given in our text of two men who had departed from the truth on the vital doctrine of the resurrection. The spreading effect of their error would in turn “overthrow the faith” of some Christians.
This is truly one of the objectives of Satan – to overthrow the faith of others. The devil does not want us to live by faith, trusting God and His Word. He does not want us to have supreme confidence in the Holy Scriptures. The Bible teaches us that “the just shall live by faith” (Hebrews 10:38). We are saved by faith, and we are to live by faith if we are to please God. “But without faith it is impossible to please him” (Hebrews 11:6). We should recognize that in this life, there are many enemies of faith. There are multiplied forces that will tempt us to detour from the life of faith. The devil is certainly an enemy of faith, but the Scripture teaches us also that error is faith’s enemy. False doctrine will prevent us from trusting as we should. Unbelief is another obvious enemy of faith.
God wants us to have an unwavering confidence in His inspired Word. When Peter was walking on the water, he began to look at the storm and became afraid. After the Lord escorted him back to the boat, Jesus said to Peter, “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” (Matthew 14:31) Logic, or reason, is another enemy of faith. Focusing on the natural, and living according to human reasoning, can blind us to the possibilities of the supernatural. Emotion can likewise be an enemy of faith. Feelings are part of life. But if we live according to our feelings, we will not be living by faith. Self-reliance is also an enemy of faith. We must identify these enemies of faith, feed our faith with the Word of God, and resist temptations to live in fear, doubt, or self-reliance.