Galatians 1:15-17 & 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5
From the Reformer
“By the favor of God I, a wicked and cursed wretch, a blasphemer, persecutor, and rebel, was spared. Not content to spare me, God granted unto me the knowledge of His salvation, His Spirit, His Son, the office of an apostle, everlasting life.” Paul speaking.
God not only pardoned our iniquities, but in addition overwhelmed us with blessings and spiritual gifts. Many, however, are ungrateful. Worse, by opening again a window to the devil many begin to loathe God’s Word, and end by perverting the Gospel.
—Martin Luther, Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians
Pulling It Together
Paul said that the time is coming when people’s ears will itch. When one gets an itch deep in the ear canal, it is frustrating because it cannot be easily scratched. Many people end up with perforated eardrums because they stick an object into their ear to scratch the elusive itch.
The Apostle’s use of the phrase “itching ears” is idiomatic. He means that the ears are tickled by what people have heard and they want to hear more because it makes them feel better. They want to hear more of what they want to hear, whether or not it is the truth.
We have been given the Gospel of Christ and need to be devoted to its message even when it does not feel good. We must sit under Gospel teaching and not surround ourselves with those who say what we want them to say (2Ti 4:3). If we do the latter, we end up perforating and perverting the truth (2Tim 4:4).
God was merciful in giving us the Gospel when we did not deserve to hear the truth. Indeed many of us did not even want to hear it. Yet, in his great love for us, he sent the Gospel in the life of his Son and the inspired teachings of his Apostles and others (2Ti 3:16). If your ears itch, go ahead and scratch. But use the Gospel; otherwise you just might puncture something.
© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reform: Devotions with the Reformers