February 18, 2008 Ration

II Timothy 2:15

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.”

What is this about presenting yourself approved to God? Is Paul talking about your approval for salvation? Is Christ’s work on the cross lacking? Does Christ’s blood only partially approve me to the Father while my working seals the deal? Not for a moment! Salvation is from the Lord (Jonah 2:9)! Earlier, Paul makes it completely plain that it is God who “saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works, but because of His own purpose and grace, which He gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began…” (II Timothy 1:9). Artist, you are saved because of Christ, and not an ounce of your good workmanship will recommend you for salvation. Now, when you stand before God, saved by the work of His Son, will you stand ashamed in how you handled what God has given you and called you to?

Paul tells Timothy that he, as a workman of God, must be diligent to present himself to his Boss as a worker who will be approved for and not ashamed of his work. Timothy is already purchased by God to be a worker. Timothy does not work in a way that catches the glance of God and moves God to approve him for salvation on the merits of his work. No, he is dead in his trespasses. Dead people do not work at all. God makes us alive in Christ. God purchases us through Christ’s blood; gives us a mission, a life; gives us grace to accomplish the mission; and we must be a diligent, faithful worker in that mission because one day we will stand before God to give account for our work. Christ will account to God for our salvation, where we put our faith in Him, and we will account to God for our faithfulness or faithlessness as a worker.

Will you stand ashamed, artist? I am not asking if you feel ashamed right now. Sometimes we do not know how ignorant in the word of truth we are to even begin to feel ashamed. I am asking if God will look with shame upon you for your handling of the word of truth. Your handling is your issue. You are a handler, and this diligence in handling is what Paul is exhorting Timothy and us towards. Artists, handle accurately the word of truth!

There is a prerequisite here, namely, we must first know the word of truth in order to handle it accurately. What does the Bible say about this standard theme in the arts: pride? James says that God opposes the proud…(James 4:6). First, do you know this? Then, do you take this word of truth in your hand like a saber and make war against the pride in your flesh? Do you know how to wield this saber, or have you just set it on your mantle as a decoration? Accurately handling the word demands that the word must be handled. If God opposes the proud, He will not approve your pride no matter how many times you proclaim “God opposes the proud” as you show off your mantle.

Artists, “handling accurately” not only means that we must be accurate with the word as we engage others, even before that, we must accurately handle it on ourselves. Be in the word. Let the word of truth educate you. Let the word of truth free you of yourself. Let the word of truth pry open your eyes to see God for what He says about Himself. Let the word of truth be your guide in your search for truth, meaning, and fullest pleasures. And then, once the word begins to strip the cold casings of flesh off your heart, articulate, as God has particularly skilled you for the labors He gives you, the pleasures you now enjoy of God!

Who will care what man thinks as he trembles before God, his Assessor? Rather, shouldn’t you care what God thinks as you stand before man, such His lesser? Artists, be diligent to handle accurately the word of truth in all your labors in the arts. There is an amazing approval to be enjoyed!

Jason Harms


© 2008 The Gaius Project