2 Timothy 3:5 – Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
We often talk about unity within Christianity. We should not desire strife and envy. We should desire unity and Christian love. This does not mean we are to seek unity at all costs. It does not mean that we are to continue to associate with people simply because they claim to be Christians.
In 2 Timothy 3:5, Paul makes the case for separation. Paul instructs Timothy to “turn away” to intentionally separate from those who have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof.
Outwardly Godly – “having a form of godliness”
Inwardly Empty – “but denying the power thereof”
Biblical Mandate – “from such turn away”
Why is it such a big deal?
Jesus was not known for turning away from people. He was known for eating among sinners. We look at the person described in this verse. We could rationalize, sure they are not living out their Christian life in the power of the Holy Spirit. Yes, it is ineffective and useless, but they are still better to be around than sinners that don’t know Jesus. We can convince ourselves this instuction from Paul to Timothy is not a real big deal.
It is a big deal because it will influence your Christian walk.
The people you choose to be around will determine who you become. If you want to know about a person look at the people they choose to be around. Being around a person that only has a form of godliness is more dangerous for your Christian life than being around unbelievers that have no form of godliness. Because a person that has truly been saved is not quickly going to be influenced to live like a person who does not know Christ. We know who we were without Christ, we recognize all that He has done for us and in us. We will not quickly turn completely away from Him.
However, if we allow ourselves to be around a person who is outwardly godly and inwardly empty, it is very easy to look at their lives and settle for the same mediocrity.
You recognize that its powerless. You recognize the emptiness of it, but you look at them doing the right actions and saying the right words. They have the perfect form of godliness and you will begin to believe that you can live your Christian life like that and it will be good enough.
The temptation is to settle for mediocrity, to be content being lukewarm, neither hot or cold. Jesus talked about that kind of Christianity that was in the church at Laodicia.
So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Revelation 3:16
If you do not separate from those who are outwardly godly but inwardly empty, it will hinder your Christian walk and cause you to become powerless in leading others to Christ.
Replicas are made of anything of value. Replicas may look like the real thing but they are not genuine. They only have the appearance. Jesus is not looking for replica Christians. He is building His church with the real thing. Christians must take what they know from Scripture, apply it in their life and live it out in a world that desperately needs Christ.