1 Timothy 1:18-20 (JDV)
1 Timothy 1:18 Timothy, my son, I am giving you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies previously made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the good fight,
1 Timothy 1:19 having faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and have shipwrecked their faith.
1 Timothy 1:20 Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have delivered to Satan, so that they may be taught not to malign1 God.
Whoever Hymenaeus and Alexander were, it is pretty clear that they had once professed faith in Christ, but changed their mind. Now they were maligning God. They had reversed course. Paul encouraged Timothy to keep fighting the good fight.
Theologically, I struggle with the notion that a human being who has a genuine faith in God can choose to give it up. I believe true faith comes from God. I don’t think God leaves such a matter of eternal importance up to fickle human free will.
Yet, these two have obviously chosen to defect. I am encouraged, though, that Paul had not written these two defectors off completely. Instead, he has delivered them to Satan. In other words, he has left them to the results of their choice. If they are going to reject Christ, they by default are going to be in Satan’s camp. Paul probably thought that these two would soon learn their lesson, and would reverse course once again.
Where are you in this picture? Are you still fighting the fight like Timothy, or have you reversed course like these two God-maligners? Or, maybe you are still considering whether Christ is worth your allegiance. You cannot sideline this choice. You are either fighting the fight, or you have already lost it.
LORD, give us all the courage to choose Christ, and keep fighting that fight until the end
1 βλασφημέω = malign. 1 Timothy 1:20; 6:1.