Also available as MP3: Teaching Others In Meekness – 2 Timothy 2:25-26
That phrase “oppose themselves” is first used to speak of how God opposed Himself (Job 30:21).God always blessed Job for his righteousness (Job 1:8), but when He allowed Satan to move Him against Job, He opposed Himself. That is, He wasn’t His usual self, a God who blessed the righteous (Job 1:1-3 cf.Gen.13:4-6). He wasn’t obliged to do so, since He didn’t promise He would until later under the law (De.7:12-15). So Job couldn’t charge Him with unrighteousness but he couldcharge Him with opposing Himself.
The only other time anyone opposed themselves was when God called the Jews to be a light to the Gentiles (Acts 13:45-47). When they refused to be the light God made them to be, they “opposed themselves” (Acts 18:6). And that’s what it means when believers today “oppose themselves.” God made us to be saints” (I Cor. 1:2),. When we don’t act that way, we oppose ourselves, and can’t be the light God set us to be in the world (Phil. 2:15).
But there is more involved in being a light to the world than not living in sin. To be the light of truth God made you to be you must also avoid teaching error like saying the resurrection is past (IITim.2:18). You need someone to meekly instruct you to repent and acknowledge the truth (2:25).
Meekness means you don’t react when someone attacks you personally and doctrinally (Num. 12:1-3). This is important, for when you try to help someone living in sin, they say, “Who are you to correct me, you’re not perfect.” You know. They get personal. Even if you are pretty moral, you must instruct others meekly for you might fall (Gal. 6: 1). And when you correct someone doctrinally, they say, “Who are you to correct me? My interpretation is as good as yours.” They too get personal. You have to react meekly.
If you can, God “peradventure” will give them repentance. This doesn’t mean God may or may not give it. When God gave repentance to Israel (Acts 5:30,31), it was up to Individual Jews to repent. When God gave repentance to the Gentiles (Acts 11:18), it was up to individual Gentiles to repent. So when it says God “peradventure” will give repentance to those that you instruct, it is up to them too.
The truth you need to “acknowledge” if you are living in sin is all the good things Christ put within you (Phile. 1:6). That’s grace motivation! Beating yourself up with the law won’t help. And the truth to “acknowledge” to correct doctrinal error is the truth that is according to godliness (Tit. 1:1), Paul’s gospel. If you teach the resurrection is past, you take away hope, and men live in sin (Jer. 18:12; ICor. 15:32). Instruction in Paul’s gospel will fix that!
“Recover” (2:26) means to get something back (ISam. 30: 18). Recovering yourself
means getting back to being the sinless person God sees you to be, teaching the truth He’s given you to teach.
A “snare” (2:26) is a trap (Job 18:10). Usually snares are used to catch animals, but those who teach error set snares for men (Jer. 5:26). If you fall into the vain babbling of error it is ungodly, and will led to more ungodliness (IITim. 2:16). When that happens, Satan takes you “captive” (2:26). You don’t cease to be a child of God any more than the Jews did when they were taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar. They just couldn’t function as His children. They could only sacrifice and observe their feasts and sabbaths in Israel. If Satan takes youcaptive, you can’t function as a child of God you’re not “meet for the master’s use” (2:21)
Being taken captive at Satan’s will doesn’t mean he overpowers your will. He was only able to enter Judas (John 13:2) to sell the Lord out (Mt. 26:14-16) because he was covetous (John 13:2). Peter asked “why” Ananias let Satan fill his heart because he knew how it happened—he let him! We must let him also or he can’t. But when you’re taken captive at Satan’s will, you can recover yourself. Solomon’s vessels couldn’t (II Chron. 36:7) because it as God’s will they be taken captive as well as Satan’s (Jer. 25:90). But that’s because they were under the law and so God had to curse them. You’re not under the law, so it is never God’s will that you be taken captive by Satan. You’re a vessel of God (2:22) who can recover himself!