elements of full-time ministry pt. 3
Element #3- A life of Sanctity (2 Tim. 1:8-9)
Up until now we have discussed the first two elements of full-time ministry which include being marked by an unashamed fidelity and having a heart for ministry. Just to recap, all four of the elements of full-time ministry that we are in the process of developing comes from 2 Timothy 1-2:2 and is well worth reading repeatedly for any Christian, not just the pastor in training. Remember the words of the apostle Paul to young Timothy, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
The third element of full-time ministry that Derek Thomas brings our attention to is that believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are to lead a life of sanctity (2 Tim. 1:8-9). The fundamental factor to consider is that the gospel produces a life of holiness for the one who believes sincerely in God’s gospel. One indication of this can be found in Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church where he states the awesome fact that, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10 ESV). The truth of the matter is that as God’s chosen, we have been set apart from before the world began to do the works that God has for us. To take part in these works is to be separate from the rest of the world and to proclaim God’s glory. To lead a life of holiness means to be “set apart” and seek to be holy, just as God Himself is holy (1 Peter 1:13-16). As Christians, we are God’s church, His chosen to be set apart from the rest of the world.
There is also another level to this discussion to consider carefully. The function of theology, as Thomas claims, is for sanctification and holiness. Every time we look into God’s word of considering works on theological concepts, we are doing much more, or at least should be doing much more, than fulfilling an academic addiction to gain more knowledge for the sake of arguing. Christians should be growing closer to Christ in the study of biblical theology. To study theology for the glory of God is to become closer on a personal basis with God. When doing theology, we should come out loving and desiring Christ even more than we ever have before.
So we should ask ourselves these questions: Am I leading a life of sanctity? Do I desire Christ more in my theological pursuits, or is theology merely to satisfy my hunger for knowledge for the sheer purpose of having theological superiority over another person? These are great questions to consider and ask ourselves every day. My prayer, and even for myself, is that we would truly lead a life of sanctity for the glory of God. I hope that this is your prayer as well.