2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
The Word of God brings life, encouragement, and hope to our hearts. It builds us up, gives us wisdom, and light upon things we need to see. Yes, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth is also a Comforter, One who gives solace or eases our pain. Sometimes, though, the Word preached has different effects other than soothing, comforting, encouraging, but like in 2 Timothy 4:2, reproves, rebukes, exhorts. These verses were inspired by the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul given to his son in the faith Timothy. The Apostle Paul had a revelation of Jesus Christ and of the grace of God so 2 Timothy 4: 2 is one of the ways he preached grace. It has been said by those who are preaching a distorted grace that preachers today are not preaching grace like Paul preached grace but in reality they who distort grace are the ones not using reproof, rebuke, and exhortation.
The Word of God describes other effects the Word of God can have at different times:
- Hebrews 4:12 – Sword that penetrates/cuts.
- Acts 2:37 – Pricked/stunned.
- Luke 24:32 – Hearts burn.
- Jeremiah 23:29 – Word is like fire.
- Jeremiah 23:29 – Hammer that: breaks; drives things in; chisels; pries; pounds.
- Luke 3:9 – Axe laid to the roots.
Some have mistakenly suggested under the guise of preaching grace that we don’t need the message of repentance either. The message of repentance is still needed and it one of Gods ways to keep us positioned for grace. Using reproof, rebuke, and exhortation creates conviction within us and grievousness because it’s the chastening of the Lord or corrective in nature; but after, it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness (Hebrews 12:11). Conviction can sometimes be described as the pain you feel in your conscience when you break God’s moral law. Repentance is when you acknowledge the truth of God’s Word about it and change. What physical pain is to your outward body conviction is to your inner man. If your physical body did not send the sensation of pain when you stepped on a piece of glass and cut the bottom of your foot you could bleed to death. In the same way, if truth didn’t cause conviction (pain) in your conscience you could get in trouble spiritually. This article is not about always trying to convict people but about purposely avoiding truths that may convict some simply because you’ve bought into an “avoid ouchy words” philosophy of ministry.
The effect of removing truths that reprove, rebuke, and exhort is a lukewarm, lawless, non-discipled church. The Word of His grace contains truths that bring God’s correction to get us back on track when we get off into sin or transgress. It is grace that acts like the Advanced Safety Systems that today’s cars are equipped with such as FCW (Forward Collision Warning) to alert the driver to prevent collision; or like LDW (Lane Departure Warning) a warning when you are about to cross lane markings. Those warnings keep us safe and so does the Word of His grace. The kindest thing you can do for people is to tell them the truth.