But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels. The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:23-26 NAU)
When I first read this scripture I thought Paul was referring to those with false doctrine. Though that is certainly true, another sombre truth emerged:Those who oppose men of God are used by the Devil.
When Peter tried to persuade Jesus from going to the cross he rebuked him saying,
“Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.” (Matthew 16:23 NAU)
Jesus certainly did not mince his words in that instance. It is the Devil who opposes the people of God. “Satan” means an adversary.
The Lord gave us critical insight on how the Devil is a schemer. He explained that the Devil invented lying. There is absolutely no truth in him. He is an opponent of the Truth (John 8:31-47.) It is only Jesus who can set us free from the lies of the Enemy when we become his disciples. If a person does not serve the truth but rather hinders it, that individual has become an agent of the Deceiver.
In the Old Testament men of God were not obligated to be patient. Any transgression on your part could bring about swift judgment. The mission of the Lord Jesus whom we serve is to save lives. If Paul did not admonish gentleness there would be terrible outcomes that people could not escape. Anyone called into the ministry does not only have a grave responsibility. They also have great authority in the Lord.
God takes the call very seriously but there are a number of Christians who don’t. They have a habit of denouncing vehemently some people because they think they are not of God. Even the archangel Michael does not slander the Devil (Jude 9.) When Saul had evidently been rejected by God, David feared to touch the Lord’s anointed. There are certain lines we need not cross.
It is not our job to determine who has been called of God. If someone is a man or woman of God they serve a master. If they claim to serve him and do not, they will still answer to him. The Lord knows those who are his (2 Timothy 2:19.) The genuine always outweighs the fake, other than what is real loses its value. If there are false men of God then true men of God greatly out number them. We should be circumspect in what we say concerning the Lord’s anointed (Psalm 105:15.) In demonizing certain people we might find ourselves firmly in the clutches of the Devil.