Faith is like a vessel that carries us across the raging ocean; a good faith is able to be tested and tried without breaking, and, most importantly, stay the course. A ship that cannot get you to the destination you set out for is no ship you wish to board; likewise, there is a faith that appears to cut across the waves smoothly in the beginning of its journey, looking as though it will run strong and swift, but eventually becomes the ghostly graveyard of a shipwreck!
SHIPWRECKING THE FAITH
Hold faith and a good conscience; which some having thrust away make a shipwreck concerning the faith.
~1 Timothy 1:19
Give diligence to present yourself approved by God, a workman who doesn’t need to be ashamed, properly handling the Word of Truth. But shun empty chatter, for it will go further in ungodliness, and those words will consume like gangrene, of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; men who have erred concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past, and overthrowing the faith of some.
2 Timothy 2:15-18
The faith that suffers shipwreck and is overturned is the faith that strays from the truth and is consumed by ungodliness.
To cast away our confidence, trust, and true hope in Christ for anything else will always end in tragedy. Those things, whether it be a more comfortable gospel that promises you a greater liberty (but is still a slave to corruption- 2 Peter 2:19), or the promise of fulfillment in the lusts of the flesh, always make shipwreck of the faith. They are not the Ark of God’s Covenant that will safely carry us through to the end.
Often times we look at our friends and think they are making great progress in their faith. We see them sailing on a faith that carries immorality as its cargo and think we, too, can burden our vessels of faith with such cargo.
However, we should heed the warning that Paul gave Timothy, who had seen the end of these men himself, and warned that the faith which is consumed by ungodliness is soon overturned!
NO HOPE FOR A SHIPWRECKED FAITH
There is a difference between someone that has gotten off-course in their faith and someone that is shipwrecked. While there is great peril in going off course since all faiths that were shipwrecked began by going off course, it is always possible to repent and change course.
However, making shipwreck of the faith is final. We often think we are a long way off from losing our faith while wandering in the wilderness of ungodliness, but it is impossible to see the “hidden reefs” (Jude 12, NASB or WEB) that often lie just below the surface of the raging sea. They can come to you as an innocent friend who strikes the blow that causes you to fall away, or a severe trial that overwhelms you.
No one ever made shipwreck of the faith while staying the course.
But how can I say that making shipwreck of the faith is final?
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.
This is the frightful end of the faith that loves the world and has gone wandering off the course that has been set before us by Jesus Christ our Savior.
If you are wandering in your faith and carrying the weight of ungodliness as your cargo, then it is now time that you cast your cargo overboard and return to the straight and narrow path. We know that God tells us the love of the world, the lusts of the eyes, the lusts of the flesh, and the pride of life are all cargoes that He will not allow to enter His Kingdom.
As Paul told Timothy, give yourself to the Word of God, that you may be strengthened and return to the right course.
If you’re still on course, rejoice in Christ, and be diligent in keeping the watch that you do not stray from the course that is given by Jesus Christ our Lord!
May you abide in Christ, and He in you, Amen!
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Photo by Knut A. Dahl