During wartime it is vital that a person carries on their person, documents that attest to their true identity. Those who do not have the proper papers are in danger of being considered a spy should they find themselves examined by the authorities. Woe be to that man who is discovered, not just to be without documentation, but found to be in possession of counterfeit documents, who, professing one identity is in reality someone altogether different. Paul sets forth this very concern for his own self in these verses before us.
He says that he is diligent to discipline himself lest after making a great profession of faith and instructing others he himself should be discovered to be nothing more than a counterfeit or one who is rejected. The word "castaway" in the original Greek is "adokimos" from which our English word "document" is ultimately derived. This Greek word literally means "not standing the test, unapproved, or rejected." If something can be "documented" then we mean that it can be shown to be true regardless of the opposition. The LORD said that a prophet could be known to be a true prophet if the prophesies that he spoke came to pass. If he was not one hundred percent accurate then he was to be rejected as speaking lies. (see Deut.18:22) This one test disqualifies all who claim to be modern day "prophets" Those who teach doctrines not found in the word of GOD must be rejected (see Isa.8:20) based upon the sole standard of the written word of GOD which we call the Bible.
It does not matter how appealing a man's message may be, how much good is apparently done by it, nor even if it is gladly approved by the multitudes and ratified by ecclesiastical courts, the only true standard by which sound doctrine can be rightly judged is by that word which has been preserved and delivered to us in the pages of the Bible. Though GOD has used human instrumentality to record HIS word upon pages which can be read by human eyes, yet those words which are written are not mere human thoughts. Though men have died and been persecuted in the process of preserving those words for us, yet let us never forget that GOD himself has brought them to us, and more importantly given us eyes to see and ears to hear them unless we be "reprobates" or "castaways". Human hands may inscribe words on paper with ink but only GOD can write those words upon the heart.
Though sound doctrine is vitally important and Paul often sets forth the necessity of preaching it, (see I Tim.1:3-10) he is not primarily concerned with his doctrine when he says "I keep under my body and bring it into subjection". Rather, his concern is that he may be discovered to be a counterfeit, by ultimately walking contrary to that which he had exhorted others to follow. This is a sobering thought and one which is designed and worked in the true sons of GOD in order to stir them up to due diligence in "mortifying the deeds of the body". "For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." (Rom 8:13-14) Paul is not here teaching that a man may become "spiritual" or enhance his spiritualty by the some work of depriving the flesh. Rather he is setting forth the very fact that those who are born again by the SPIRIT of GOD will manifest their sonship by an attention to, and a concern for this mortification.
If a man possesses papers that attest to his true identity as the child of a king, we would count him a fool if he did not do everything in his power to protect those documents. He cannot produce his identity by that conscientiousness nor can he prove himself to be someone who he is not, but a neglect of such diligence would prove his disregard of who he was and would show him to be no true son at all. Is this not what Peter meant when he said, "Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall." (2Pet. 1:10)
Quite often those who profess a belief in sovereign grace and the believer's freedom from the law of sin and death are reluctant to press upon the sons of GOD, the exhortations of the scripture, for fear of being considered "legalists". Such is an unfounded fear and a misunderstanding of the means GOD uses to preserve HIS children and keep them from falling. If we are found faithful in the final day it will not be because of any power or ability of our flesh to effect our preservation, but it will be manifested that HE has kept us by HIS own power as HE worked in us both to will and to do of HIS good pleasure. (see Jude 1:24; Phil.2:13) We must in the meantime be mindful of the dangers which lurk on every side of the road to the celestial city. "Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end." (Heb 3:12-14) Therefore we exhort the sons of GOD to:
Pray without ceasing. " I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men." (1 Tim 2:1)
Give serious attention to the things of GOD. "Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded." (Titus 2:6) GOD's word is not meant to entertain.
Contend for the faith. "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." (Jude 1:3)
Pursue purity in thought and deed. "Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus." (1 Thess 4:1-2) (see Col.3:5)
Walk circumspectly, aware of danger. "See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit." (Eph 5:15-18)
"Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates." (2Cor. 13:5-6)mam