If you are going to go to war to war a good spiritual war-fare (1:19), you’d better be “holding” a weapon known as “faith.” Comparing Scripture with Scripture we learn that “faith” is “the faithful word” that Timothy and Titus were “taught” by Paul (IITim.1:13). If you want to hold Paul’s message as tightly as the Jews held their tradition (Mark 7:3), you’ll have to view the Word as Job did (Job 23:12).
To war this warfare you must also be holding “a good conscience” (v.19). But don’t let your conscience alone be your guide, as the world says. Paul was able to say he had lived in all good conscience (Acts 23:1) even though he’d murdered believers (Acts 22:4). And he wasn’t talking about just since he was saved (II Tim.1:3). You see, he did it ignorantly (ITim.1:13), thinking he was serving God (John 16:2).
But does that tell you how dangerous it is to let your con-science be your guide? You must hold the faith given to Paul and a good conscience or like Saul and the men who flew those planes into the World Trade Center in all good conscience, thinking they were serving God, you’ll end up warring the wrong kind of warfare with the wrong people.
If you’re thinking that everyone’s conscience knows it is wrong to murder, you’re right, we are all born with a good conscience, but a conscience can be “seared” (ITim.4:1,2) to where it is “past feeling” (Eph.4:17-19) the pricks of conscience telling you you’re doing something wrong. This is caused by bad doctrine (I Tim.4:1,2). Don’t ever let anyone tell you doctrine isn’t important, and that teaching it as we do here at Faith Bible Church isn’t vitally important.
A conscience can also be silenced by just putting it away (1:19), divorcing it, as it were (Mt.5:31). Paul says “some” who knew Paul’s gospel put it away “for filthy lucre” (Titus 1:9-11). Compare this to how everyone’s conscience knows stealing is wrong, but thieves put their conscience away. These men knew lying about Paul’s gospel was wrong but they put it away concerning faith and made shipwreck. Using this word, Paul wants you to think of the story of his shipwreck when God promised him that all who stayed in the boat with him would be saved (Acts 27:24). 276 souls were saved because they remained in the boat with Paul. When the dispensation of grace began, all believers were in the same boat, all knew Paul’s gospel was the truth for today (Acts 27:31).The only way to war a good spiritual warfare today is to remain in the boat with him.
Two that didn’t continue sailing with Paul (1:20) taught the resurrection of the rapture was past and some had missed it (IITim.2:16-18). Thinking you’d been left behind would “overthrow” your faith (v.18). If you thought God lied about rapturing you, why would you believe anything else God said? Paul countered by saying the Lord knew all that were His and wouldn’t miss any (v.19).
To stop these men, Paul delivered them to Satan, which means he put them out of the assembly (cf.ICor.5:2,5,13). The “destruction of the flesh” occurs when the man who was so sexually aggressive he slept with his step mother (ICor.5:1) went on to sleep with others who would give him a disease to destroy his flesh. Hymenaeus and Alexander weren’t doing anything that would endanger their lives, so Paul put them out of the assembly that they might “learn not to blaspheme” instead.
We normally think of blasphemy as blaspheming God’s name (Lev.24:15,16) but resisting new truth is also blasphemy (Acts 18:1-6), and that’s what Hymenaeus and Alexander did. The prophets taught the Jews that they had to go through the Tribulation, then their resurrection would come. When Paul taught we’d be raptured prior to the Tribulation, they resisted this. They also blasphemed in saying God couldn’t do what he promised and rapture us before the Tribulation as He said He would (cf. II Kings 18:33—19:3).
But isn’t the best place to learn not to blaspheme inside the church? Why put them out? Well, some people have to learn the hard way, even great men like the psalmist (Ps. 119:71). Paul believed in what the world calls “tough love”