by Brad Bell
“Apostasy” is usually thought of in negative terms. When you think of an “apostate,” it is usually someone who has denied the faith, or who has turned aside from what is true.
Would you be surprised to learn that Paul actually commanded Timothy to apostatize?
Yes, he did!
Let me explain.
We get the English word apostasy via the Greek apostēsō, I turn away.
In and of itself, apostasy is neither good nor bad. You can turn away from many different things.
Believers can turn away from the truth—that’s the bad kind of apostasy.
But believers can also turn away from evil. That’s the good kind of apostasy. Paul talked about it in 1 Tim 2:19:
Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart [apostētō] from iniquity.”
Flee iniquity. Depart from unrighteousness. Get out of there. Apostatize.
Did you know you can apostatize from evil?
For example, Paul commanded Timothy to depart from the presence of increasing ungodliness and false teaching (v. 16), like that of Hymenaus and Philetus (v 17) who taught the resurrection was past (v. 18). Timothy needed to “apostatize” from that false teaching.
This turning away from wickedness accomplishes two main things:
- It helps protect you against turning from the truth.
- It allows you to become a vessel for honor.
But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. (2 Tim. 2:20-21)
God uses all believers in the household of faith for his glory. Yet, there are differences and degrees of usefulness just as different utensils in a household are used for different purposes.
Would you serve the same kind of meal on plastic plates as on fine china? Certainly not!
Part of becoming a vessel which God can use for honorable purposes is departing from iniquity.
“It is then a challenge to us to be fit for His personal use and this we can be if we are willing to purify ourselves from those who are not thus fit. Sanctification of heart and life must precede serviceableness to our Despot (Master).”—Zane Hodges
Do you want to be a useful, honorable vessel to your Master? Apostatize from iniquity.