In the days of wooden sailing vessels, the word “shipwreck” struck horror in the hearts of those who lived and worked by, or on, the sea. Oft times survivors told their stories of the storms and hidden dangers that caused the demise of their ships and crews. Fierce storms that last for days have been known to slowly destroy the integrity of pristine sailing vessels, diminish the hopes of brave and stalwart men, and leave them shipwrecked.
Interestingly, the writers of scripture were inspired to utilize these common tales of unfortunate seafaring men to illustrate a parallel truth pertaining to the voyage of some who have lost “faith and good conscience” on the tempestuous sea of life, and become shipwrecks. In his letter to the young pastor, Timothy, at the church at Ephesus, Paul tells of two such men.
Paul writes, “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen. This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, …that thou mightest war a good warfare; Holding faith, and a good conscience…” 1Timothy 1:18-19a. Timothy had already proven himself faithful, standing, like a soldier, for good and against evil, and God was using him mightily at Ephesus. Such was not the case with two other Ephesians; “…some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck. Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.” (1Timothy 1:19b-20).
It appears that these men had been accepted as a part of the family of faith there at Ephesus, but now, they blasphemed God, His truth and His people. The word blaspheme suggests that they now spoke slanderously of the God they once professed to worship. Though close enough to taste His goodness, they had ultimately rejected the Way, the Truth, and the Life that God had offered. They were spiritual shipwrecks.
You too have heard the truth; perhaps you once sought to embrace it, but the storms of life have caused you to put away faith and a good conscience and you have become a spiritual shipwreck. Since you are still able to read this, you could yet be rescued. Jesus Christ, the Deliverer, is near!