Power, Love and Sanity

by A.E. Knoch

"GOD GIVES US, not a spirit of timidity, but of power, and of love, and of sanity. Then you should not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, or of me, His prisoner, but suffer evil with me in the evangel in accord with the power of God, Who saves us and calls us with a holy calling, not in accord with our acts, but in accord with His purpose and the grace which is given to us in Christ Jesus before eonian times..." (2 Tim.1:7-9). Here we have the spirit which should characterize our ministry in the last days. Second Timothy is particularly important for the Lord's slaves in this era, for it is especially adapted to these times. This passage, and others in this precious epistle were burned into my heart during my earliest ministry, and they have influenced my course powerfully ever since.

God has given us a spirit of sanity. Perhaps no quality is so absent in the teaching of Christendom today, or in the popular interpretations of the Scriptures. Even advanced saints feel that a divine revelation must be veiled in mysticism, and faith consists in a credulous acceptance of hazy superstitions which violate the instincts of a sane mind. A spirit of sanity cannot accept the teaching of the trinity because it is in conflict with revelation and hence inadmissible into the realms of human thought. It is insane. Fanaticism has taken the place of faith. Sanity demands a careful comparison of "faith" with the written records God has given, for all faith is false which is not based upon them. Let us reject every spirit which conflicts with the utmost sanity.

This is not reasoning. It is simply mental health, the rejection of the fanciful, the fictitious, and the false.

God has not given us a spirit of timidity. This is a difficult lesson for some of us to learn. Being constitutionally timid, we hesitate and fear to take a bold stand in our testimony for God. We ask ourselves, Is it not presumption, and contrary to the spirit of love? Will it not be mistaken for self-assertion, and perfectionism, and absolutism, and arrogance? Undoubtedly it will. Even our fellow-slaves will tell us that it is not the spirit of Christ. But we must distinguish between our walk in general and our testimony to the truth. If we testify concerning ourselves we may well be backward. But if we hold aloft the banner of God's Word, we have every reason to be confident and courageous. With joyous assurance let us do like Peter, who has recently denied his Lord three times, when he charges his fellow countrymen, "Ye denied the holy One..." If we look to ourselves we will be timid, but if we look to Him, timidity will be transformed into fearless faithfulness.

God has given us a spirit of power. Weakness has its place, but it is in the flesh, not the spirit. Many of us have our thorn, our infirmity, and it is the gift of God, but it is not in our spirits. The joy of the Lord is our strength. We exult in a God Who is able. And we become partakers of His power. God is working and accomplishing His purpose, and He has given us a part in it. We need not fear for His truth. It will prevail! Perhaps we may have to wait. Indeed, for the present, we expect it to be opposed, and rejected and despised. Such is its due in this evil day. But let us not lose heart. Every power on earth and in heaven will yet yield to the power of God's Word. We have nothing to fear. The victory is ours! Let us never be timid in the proclamation of the truth. Timidity is the child of error. It does not come from God.

God gives us a spirit of love. To many of us power and sanity are incompatible with love. Its quality has sunk down to a simpering sentimentalism. Instead of a deep desire  for another's weal, and his actual good, we prefer to be pleasant and spare our fellows passing pain. Faithful are the wounds of a friend. God's love is of a better quality. We know that He loves us, yet He does not shield our souls from every experience of evil. But He gives us no unnecessary anguish. So love will give no needless pain to anyone, and will avoid offense when possible. But it will not shun to proclaim the crucifixion of mankind because men do not like it. It will not cease exposing the apostasies of the saints because they resent it. On the contrary, it will not be timid in the least in maintaining a sane and powerful testimony which tears off all the hypocritical subterfuges of Christendom, which have clouded the revelation of God's wisdom and power and love.

[*Originally an untitled Editorial in January 1935 Unsearchable Riches]

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