A Shipwrecked Faith

“…holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.”

—1 Timothy 1:19–20

How does a person shipwreck their faith? This question has massive implications for us and those that we are sharing the Gospel with and attending church alongside. How many times have we all had experiences with people that we know and love who seem to be walking in the faith of Jesus Christ, only to abandon that faith and renounce Jesus Christ? What do with do we that? How do we explain their departure? Is Christ powerless to keep those who are his?

“Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.”

—Jude 24–25

“I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”

—John 10:28–29

Surely the “shipwrecking” of Hymenaeus and Alexander doesn’t nullify the power of God to keep those who were chosen “before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4).

It helps to look at the literal rendering of the word shipwreck (nauageō in the Greek), which translates as “drive away from one’s self; repudiate; reject; refuse.” This text isn’t illustrating for us a faith that was possessed as saving and then run aground from sin, neglect and mis-use. Rather, the picture is painted of a wholesale rejecting of faith, vividly portrayed as being “repudiated”, “rejected”, and even “driven away”.

“The case of the two men mentioned is sad, for the shipwreck was caused by a definite rejection of faith.”

—D.A. Carson from the New Bible Commentary.

May our hearts be warmed by the truth that if we are secure in Christ through faith, that no worldly trial or sin or failure can remove us from grace. But let us and those we share with receive the sober warning of Paul, that although we may claim fellowship with the saints and appear in all form outwardly to be Christian, we must not drive faith away, but embrace it, treasuring Christ for all the beauty and glory that He is.

Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.

—Acts 20:26-27

Speaking of seeing God for the glorious and amazing Being that He is… this teaching from Francis Chan really rocked me. May God give us more Spirit-anointed men who preach the full counsel of God with passion and conviction.

My wife and I were talking just yesterday about preachers that are consumed with the magnificence and greatness of God in their preaching and unpacking the Word of God.

This teaching hits very close to me, in that I all to often fail to grasp in my heart, mind and life the absolute and weighty glory of God.

May the Spirit illumine our hearts and enlarge them to see and savor more of God’s greatness and His glory and His great and passionate love (both for Himself and for us). 

The Notes of the Gospel: a Series

“…it will be a sorrowful thing to be lost with the notes of the gospel in your ears, and to perish under the ministry of truth.”

—C.H. Spurgeon from Regeneration

This new series of articles titled “The Notes of the Gospel” (or “GospelNotes”) will be highlighting the deep truths of the Gospel and the implications of those truths for our day-to-day lives.

I was deeply moved by Spurgeon’s passionate sermon on regeneration. His exegesis of John 3:3 unpacks the Biblical truth that unless moved upon sovereignly by God’s regenerating and saving grace, we (humanity) are in a most miserable state.

I was arrested at multiple times reading the sermon thinking about people that I know and love (some that would even call themselves Christians) that face the absolute reality of an eternity in Hell. This stirring didn’t abate at the close of the message when I was hit with the lines quoted above. To be lost (suffering an eternal death and separation from God) “with the notes of the Gospel in [our] ears…perishing under the ministry of truth.” This echoes this chilling words of Matthew 7:21–23 where Jesus tells his followers that He will declare to many that claimed allegiance to Him: “I never knew you; depart from me.”

My aim then is to press the Scriptures into us, that the Gospel might bear its full fruit and that many that we love and share with and minister to might benefit from our walking them through these Gospel truths as we rejoice in them ourselves.

May we and the people we are loving and discipling never get comfortable having the beautiful notes—the sweet music of the Gospel of God’s love—in our ears and yet leave unchanged. Or worse: unregenerate. Outside of Christ and His love for all eternity.

God, open our eyes and hearts that we might see you more clearly and know you more intimately. Keep us from vain religion and dead works. Make our hearts blazingly alive to You and renew our passion for You in this series, Lord. In Jesus’ beautiful name, amen.