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Diligent Intake of the Word

by Curt Kuster

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

Most are aware that on Wednesday evenings many children attend the AWANA program. Do you know from where the name AWANA comes? It is an acronym from our text verse: Approved Workman Are Not Ashamed.

The immediate context emphasizes the “workman” is to be aware of false teachers and false teaching. We are to be diligent in reading, studying, and practicing God’s Word in order to “accurately handle the word of truth.” Being disciplined to do this takes work. This is necessary to avoid the doctrinal errors of which Paul is warning.

However, being an “approved workman” involves more. First Corinthians 6:20 says, “You have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” This could be considered a summary statement of the Christian life. We have been bought with a price—we are redeemed. Christ’s death on our behalf has purchased our salvation. After placing our faith in Him for salvation, what should be our response? It is to glorify God in our body—in all that we do.

We are saved by grace through faith (see Ephesians 2:8-9), however the next verse states, we “are created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand.” Since Christ is now our Master (He bought us), we are to diligently serve Him. That certainly is by “accurately handling the word of truth,” but also in our day-to-day service—being a good workman.

We are approved by God for salvation by faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross on our behalf—we have been accepted by God through Christ. Romans 8:1 states “there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” However, Romans 14 tells us we will all stand before the judgment seat of God, and each one of us will give an account of himself to God.

Dr. Henry Morris, in his book Creation and the Second Coming, states this well. “This will not be a judgment for salvation, nor to decide a penalty for our sins, for the Judge Himself long ago paid for all our sins on the cross, and has saved us eternally, a gift received entirely by grace through faith. This is a judgment for rewards, ‘For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ’ (2 Corinthians 5:10a), where ‘the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire (1 Corinthians 3:13-15).’ ”

When we give this account, we do not want to be ashamed, but rather we want to hear “well done, good and faithful slave” (Matthew 25:21).