20th January 2012

Shipwrecking The Faith

“…holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith ”
I Timothy 1:19 (NIV UK)

Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims of, and to all those affected by, the dramatic shipwreck off the coast of Rome. 

In the scripture above Paul likens abandoning the call of our faith and the voice of our good conscience to our shipwrecking our spiritual life. 

“No-one is good – except God alone” (Luke 18:19), and a “good” conscience refers to our thoughts and actions being led by the “good Spirit” of God (Psalm 143:10). When Paul speaks of faith, it is “faith in Jesus Christ” through whom alone we are justified and not by works of our own (Galatians 2:16).  Paul links faith and conscience together. If we believe in Christ, our behaviour will change accordingly because the good Spirit dwells in us. 

Whenever we reject the impulses of faith and conscience, it is as if we don’t pay attention to our ship’s navigational instruments. We may drift into dangerous waters or sail too close to the rocky shores. The danger is of being shipwrecked spiritually. 

Thankfully, even though we may recklessly endanger our own salvation, we have a captain who does not abandon us when we are stranded. Jesus always has a rescue or salvage plan in mind. He does not leave us to sink or swim. If we are swept rudderless and our lost ship settles “on the far side of the sea, even there”, says David to God, “your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast” (Psalm 137:9-10). 

Let’s pray for all those caught up in disaster at sea and in other terrible situations. 

Also, let’s be alert in this new year by holding on to faith and a good conscience. 

Father, please comfort those caught up in the recent shipwreck off the coast of Italy. In Jesus’ name.

Study by James Henderson

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