"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .

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Thursday, December 2, 2021

CROSSING The T’s STUDY in 1 TIMOTHY – Biblical Precepts and Principles for Pastoral ministry: CHAPTER ONE – PART One & Two

By James Fire

INTRODUCTION: We are now venturing into what have been called the pastoral epistles (both Timothy and Titus were pastors, and Paul the apostle, their mentor). In the rank and file of the Christian hierarchy of leader/servants* that’s listed in Scripture there are apostles, then prophets, then pastors and, or teachers, and evangelists. Therefore Paul the apostle is entirely qualified to mentor these pastors.

* Regarding the position or relationship to the LORD as children of GOD we saints are all on equal footing, with none higher or lower than any other (MATT 23:8; GAL 3:26-29).

For those who are pastors today, we have The Apostle (the One sent from the Father), the LORD Jesus Christ Who mentors us; we also receive counsel from elder pastors who are senior – that is to say, those who’ve been pastoring longer than the less experienced ones.
There is a tendency for some to overlook these specific pastoral epistles because they say, “I’m not a pastor”. Yet let’s not forget that "all Scripture" is profitable (2 TIM 3:16), and that profitability is not exclusive to any single ministry. Where the specifics of pastoral duties are addressed in Scripture, certainly those are applicable to pastors.
Let’s keep this in mind as we begin these studies.

PART ONE:

But before we get into the first chapter, let’s examine this young man Timothy (and we’ll look at his mentor Paul within the body of this study (from vs. 1)). The following is from a Profile on Timothy in the Life Application Bible:
Painful lessons are usually doorways to new opportunities. Even the apostle Paul had much to learn. Shortly after his disappointing experience with John Mark (ACTS 15:38), Paul recruited another eager young man, Timothy, to be his assistant. Paul’s intense personality may have been too much for John Mark to handle. It could easily have been the same for Timothy. But Paul seems to have learned a lesson in patience from his old friend Barnabas. As a result, Timothy became a “son” to Paul (1 TIM 1:2).
Timothy probably became a Christian [during or] after Paul’s first missionary visit to Lystra where he likely met the young man for the first time (ACTS 14:6-8; 16:1-5). He already had solid Jewish training in the Scriptures from his mother and grandmother (2 TIM 1:5). By Paul’s second visit, Timothy had grown into a respected disciple of Jesus in his hometown. He did not hesitate to join Paul and Silas on their journey (ACTS 16:1-4). His willingness to be circumcised as an adult is clearly a mark of his commitment (Timothy’s mixed Greek/Jewish background could have created problems on their missionary journeys, because many of their audiences would be made up of Jews who were concerned with the strict keeping of this tradition). The circumcision helped to avoid that potential problem.
Beyond the tensions of his mixed racial background, Timothy seemed to struggle with a naturally timid character and an over awareness of his youthfulness (1 TIM 4:12). Unfortunately many who share Timothy’s character are quickly written off as too great a risk to deserve much responsibility. By GOD’s grace, Paul saw great potential in Timothy. Paul demonstrated his confidence in Timothy by entrusting him with important responsibilities. Paul sent Timothy as his personal representative to Corinth during a particularly tense time (1 COR 4:14-17). Although Timothy was apparently ineffective in that difficult mission, Paul did not give up on him. He continued to travel with Paul.
Our last pictures of Timothy come from the most personal letters in the New Testament: 1st and 2nd Timothy. In them, the aging apostle Paul was near to the end of his life, but his burning desire to continue in his mission had not dimmed. Paul was writing to one of his closest friends – they had traveled, suffered, cried, and laughed together. They shared the intense joy of people responding to the Good News and the agonies of seeing the Gospel rejected and distorted. Paul left Timothy in Ephesus to oversee the young church there (1 TIM 1:3-4). He wrote to encourage Timothy and give him needed direction. These letters have provided comfort and help to countless other ‘Timothys’ through the years. When you face a challenge that s beyond your abilities, read 1st and 2nd Timothy and remember that others have shared your experience.
His story begins in ACTS 16; he is also mentioned in ROM 16:21; 1 COR 4:17; 16:10;,11; 2 COR 1:1,19; PHIL 1:1; 2:19-23; COL 1:1; 1 THESS 1:1-10; 2:3,4; 3:2-6; PHILEMON 1:1 and HEB 13:23.

Now that we’ve taken a brief look at Timothy, let’s begin the study, starting off with a look at the apostle Paul:

1 TIMOTHY 1:1

1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope,

The mentor of Timothy was someone of great notoriety – very different from the common fishermen and ‘blue collar’ type of disciples that the LORD Jesus chose as His twelve.

Saul of Tarsus was rather uncommon even in his dual citizenship; he was of course a Jew, of the tribe of Benjamin, but he was also a Roman citizen by birth – for all people born in Tarsus were granted this privilege upon birth for very specific reasons. This speaks to GOD’s sovereignty where He even uses the place of our birth to work certain advantageous circumstances beneficial to His kingdom!

He was a scholarly, intellectual, and well-read young man in training as a Pharisee, of whom his own mentor, one of the greatest of Pharisees, Gamaliel had this one complaint: he couldn’t keep the young man adequately supplied in books to read! He speaks of himself here . . .
PHILIPPIANS..3:5-6
5 circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; 6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
The LORD used Saul even before his conversion: as the instrument by which the persecuted church was scattered from Jerusalem to Judea, Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the Earth, exactly as the LORD directed the apostles from the beginning (ACTS 1:8)!

His zeal and intensity for GOD and worshiping GOD as did the fathers didn’t wane in the slightest when he was converted, not even as he aged – if anything, he became all the more so, but coupled together with knowledge of the godly sort, not like his countrymen (ROM 10:2)! His fervent passion and love for the LORD and for his people, and souls in general is abundantly evident throughout the book of ACTS as well as in his epistles.

Paul offers testimony concerning his ministry and qualifications:
2 CORINTHIANS 11:22-31
22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I. 23 Are they ministers of Christ? I speak as a fool, I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. 24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness [and] 28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation? 30 If I must boast, I will boast in the things which concern my infirmity. 31 The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying.
He also expresses the authority of his ministry as granted by none other than Christ Jesus Himself:
GALATIANS 1:11-16
11 But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. 12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ. 13 For you have heard of my former conduct in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it. 14 And I advanced in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb and called me through His grace, 16 to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood.
And also in the following chapter in GALATIANS:
GALATIANS 2:1-9
1 Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and also took Titus with me. 2 And I went up by revelation and communicated to them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to those who were of reputation, lest by any means I might run, or had run, in vain. 3 Yet not even Titus who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised. 4 And this occurred because of false brethren secretly brought in (who came in by stealth to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage), 5 to whom we did not yield submission even for an hour, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you. 6 But from those who seemed to be something--whatever they were, it makes no difference to me; God shows personal favoritism to no man--for those who seemed to be something added nothing to me. 7 But on the contrary, when they saw that the gospel for the uncircumcised had been committed to me, as the gospel for the circumcised was to Peter 8 (for He who worked effectively in Peter for the apostleship to the circumcised also worked effectively in me toward the Gentiles), 9 and when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that had been given to me, they gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.
1 TIMOTHY 1:1b
…by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope,

The LORD commanded Saul the Persecutor, and he eventually became Paul the Apostle. In His Sovereignty, He chose this zealot to be His servant (ACTS 9:15-16). Throughout Scripture GOD is portrayed as a GOD of compassion and love, Whose chief desire for the souls of men is their redemption rather than their ruin. He is known to us, His children as “GOD our Savior” – the very name of Y’shua (“Jesus” in the Greek) means “YHWH saves”.
In TITUS 1:3-4 we read the following:
but has in due time manifested His word through preaching, which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior; 4 To Titus, a true son in our common faith:
Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior.
One might assume that there are two distinct saviors.
However, it states in ISAIAH 43:11
I, even I, am the LORD; and beside Me there is no savior. And also in HOSEA 13:4.

Would you consider this to be a contradiction in Scripture? Titus evidently identifies two saviors, yet both Isaiah and Hosea state emphatically that besides the LORD GOD, there is no other savior. These verses are easily reconciled when one considers the doctrine of the Trinity – or Triune nature of the Godhead (1 JOHN 5:7; ROM 1:20) and how this relates to the Deity of Christ (COL 2:9). For a series of articles on the Second Person in the Tri-unity of GOD, the LORD Jesus Christ, check out this TTUF link Evidence for Jesus.

1 TIMOTHY 1:2-4

2 To Timothy, a true son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord. 3 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia--remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine, 4 nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith.

The apostle calls this young man “a true son in the faith” (in contrast to his estimation of John Mark who had abandoned the work and left Paul). What started out as a mentor/ disciple relationship quickly grew to one of a father/ son. No other Pauline epistle carries the same level of intimacy and affection than 1st and 2nd Timothy.

As a former Pharisee, Paul would have had to been married (a requirement) and while it’s not certain that he had any children, here the LORD has blessed the aging apostle – not just with a son, but a true son in the faith!

I love how the LORD brings people together, and in His wisdom decides ‘personality A’ will go well with ‘personality F’.

Grace and peace are often coupled together throughout Paul’s epistles: grace (“charis”) being a common greeting among Greeks and peace (“shalom”) among the Jews, but here we see mercy interjected between them. If we desire peace with GOD (ROM 5:1), we must procure the grace of GOD (ROM 1:7; 1 COR 1:3) that is offered freely to all who seek the LORD.


Perhaps the mention of “mercy” was Paul’s assurance to young and timid Timothy that even in his failings and inability to measure up to the tasks assigned, the mercy of GOD overflows and more than makes up for any inadequacies on our part.

As was brought up in the 2 THESSALONIANS study, this grace, [mercy], and peace are from GOD our Father as well as from “Jesus Christ our LORD”. To couple both Persons together and expressing such virtues coming from both, so as to equate the quality of them, strongly supports the idea of divinity in the Son, just as it’s evident in the Father. Were the grace and peace from a subordinate of GOD (even a powerful, holy cherub) be equated with the Eternal Deity, that would be considered blasphemy!

Paul likely left Timothy behind in Ephesus as the apostle himself moved onward through the region of Macedonia and wrote this epistle to him from there; issues at Ephesus required correction, revolving around legalism and speculative theology involving “myths and genealogies”. The young protégé of the apostle was also to oversee appointments of church leadership (1 TIM 6:11-16).

As mentioned previously, Paul entrusted Timothy to such a high degree that he deputized him and sent him off to Corinth, Thessalonica, and Ephesus. The apostle saw Timothy’s ministry as a continuation of his own; the proverbial passing the torch.
We see this in 1 TIMOTHY 6:20 and 2 TIMOTHY 1:12,14. In both cases the Greek word employed is translated as “trust” and “committed” respectively. It means a sacred trust to guard and keep the ministry of the Gospel in particular, and that of the Word of GOD in general; Paul equates his commission from the LORD as no different than that which was ordained for Timothy.

Now regarding Paul’s admonition to Timothy to warn against “fables and genealogies, we have the following commentary by Albert Barnes:
Verse 4. “Neither give heed to fables”. That is, that they should not bestow their attention on fables, or regard such trifles as of importance. The "fables" here referred to were probably the idle and puerile superstitions and conceits of the Jewish Rabbis. The word rendered fable (muyov) means properly speech or discourse, to and then fable or fiction, or a mystic discourse. Such things abounded among the Greeks as well as the Jews, but it is probable that the latter here are particularly intended. These were composed of frivolous and unfounded stories*, which they regarded as of great importance, and which they seem have desired to incorporate with the teachings of Christianity. Paul, who had been brought up amidst these superstitions, saw at once how they would tend, to draw off the mind from the truth, and would corrupt the true religion. One of the most successful arts of the adversary of souls has been to mingle fable with truth; and when he cannot overthrow the truth by direct opposition, to neutralize it by mingling with it much that is false and frivolous.
“…and endless genealogies”. This also refers to Jewish teaching. The Hebrews kept careful genealogical records, for this was necessary in order that the distinction of their tribes might be kept up. Of course, in the lapse of centuries, these tables would become very numerous, complicated, and extended--so that they might, without much exaggeration, be called "endless." The Jews attached great importance to them and insisted on their being carefully preserved. As the Messiah, however, had now come--as the Jewish polity was to cease--as the separation between them and the heathen was no longer necessary, and the distinction of tribes was now useless, there was no propriety that these distinctions should be regarded by Christians. The whole system was, moreover, contrary to the genius of Christianity, for it served to keep up the pride of blood and of birth.
“…which minister questions”. Which afford matter for troublesome and angry debates. It was often difficult to settle or understand them. They became complicated and perplexing. Nothing is more difficult than to unravel an extensive genealogical table. To do this, therefore, would often give rise to contentions; and, when settled, would give rise still further to questions about rank and precedence.
“…rather than godly edifying which is in faith”. These inquiries do nothing to promote true religion in the soul. They settle no permanent principle of truth; they determine nothing that is really concerned in the salvation of men. They might be pursued through life, and not one soul be converted by them; they might be settled with the greatest accuracy, and yet not one heart be made better. Is not this still true of many controversies and logomachies [arguments concerning words and their meanings] in the church? No point of controversy is worth much trouble, which, if it were settled one way or the other, would not tend to convert the soul from sin, or to establish some important principle in promoting true religion.
“…so do”. These words are supplied by our translators, but they are necessary to the sense. The meaning is, that Timothy was to remain at Ephesus, and faithfully perform the duty which he had been left there to discharge.
"Giving heed to fables" relates to those who teach otherwise and don’t consent to the words of our LORD Jesus Christ and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, profane and idle babblings, and false knowledge (1 TIM 6:3-4,20).

* A very high regard is given to ‘story-telling’ in the Emergent Church (aka Progressive Christianity) Movement – where such intellectual and philosophical machinations are held up to par with Scripture, or even higher because they believe that they are more ‘spiritually evolved’ than even Jesus Himself!?? Such things were soundly rebuked by the apostle Paul in his day, but in today’s church, such so-called teachers are catered to and sought after as speakers.

PART TWO:

1 TIMOTHY 1:5-7

5 Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, 6 from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, 7 desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm.

There was a strong tendency towards justification by the Law in the area, and if left unchecked it would quickly devolve into deadly and carnal legalism. Elsewhere Paul stated that the law is good and holy (ROM 7:12,16) and so the Law isn’t the problem – it’s me:
ROMANS 7:14
For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.
And so we understand that there is no way possible for us to acquire justification with GOD by means of obeying the Law (ROM 3:20), when I’m a carnal, sinful person, “sold under sin” that is, by means of my insurmountable debt of sin to GOD, with no way to pay Him back, I’ve been sold as a slave to sin, with no hope of redeeming myself!

Paul does an incredible job in his epistles of ROMANS, GALATIANS and HEBREWS in nailing down salvation by grace and acquiring the “righteousness of GOD without the Law” – the very truth of this was witnessed by the Old Testament prophets themselves (ROM 3:21; check out the TTUF study on ROMANS 3)! – and showing the proper use of the Law in regards to the sinner:

1 TIMOTHY 1:8-11

8 But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, 9 knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.

Note that liars and the insubordinate are thrown together with murderers of fathers and mothers, as if there isn’t a difference. That’s because the holiness of GOD is so pure and absolute that in His eyes, there IS no difference; sin is sin: every one of them is as despicable and reprehensible and offensive as any other sin.

Think about this: the righteousness of sinful man is so offensive to GOD, that it’s like putrefying, corrupt rags that stink to high heaven (ISAIAH 64:6); and if that’s how GOD sees the very best morality and goodness that we sinners can muster, what then must our sin look like to Him?! If you ever think that you can make it to heaven on your own goodness, try reading through the Ten Commandments (EXOD 20) in an honest assessment – or even more so, the Sermon on the Mount where the LORD Jesus puts a finer point on the Law (MATT 5:17-48)!

The Law of GOD will be the standard for judgment on Judgment Day. In the brilliance of GOD’s holiness, not a single soul will be able to voice protest or claim innocence:
ROMANS 3:19
Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God (read ROM 3:10-19 to get this in context).
Paul points out that “the purpose of the Commandment is love out of a pure heart”. The LORD Jesus said Himself that:
MATTHEW 22:37-40
37 …'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.
How can sinful man love GOD whole-heartedly – from a pure heart? in a good conscience, and with sincere faith? Only by the power of the Spirit of GOD indwelling and empowering the repentant, forgiven sinner – transformed into saint, who has been granted a new heart (EZEK 36:26; JOHN 3:3,5).

By this means through faith we establish the righteousness of the Law and obtain the life of the Spirit (ROM 3:30-31; 2 COR 3:6), without adhering to the customs, festivals, dietary restrictions and the more than 600 Old Testament Laws required under that system (which has been made obsolete because of the New; HEB 8:13). Rather than these hundreds of commandments, the LORD summarizes all of their intent by just the two as cited above. These transcend both Testaments and is the standard of the Word of GOD in its entirety!

1 TIMOTHY 1:12-14

12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled* me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, 13 although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14 And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.

* Check out this TTUF article: Able Ministers of the New Testament – how the LORD enables us as mere ‘clay pots’ and can use us for His glory. This article includes the admonition on how not to ‘burn out’ in ministry! GOD accounts of us that we are faithful, worthy servants as we are founded in Christ and His Spirit, with nothing of ourselves, except a yielded, humble, useable, available heart.

Notice the treasure trove of spiritual virtues that come from our LORD: mercy, grace, faith, and love!

Paul is the quintessential example (among countless others in the biblical record) of how GOD can transform lives! Here he was, a religious Pharisee hell-bent (pun intended) on seeking out these deviants who were out to pervert the Jewish religion (so he thought) and not just arresting them but causing them to “blaspheme” (ACTS 26:11; an interesting choice of word because one can only blaspheme GOD Himself, not man – an admission of Christ’s Deity, the Word made flesh!), and some he even ordered to be put to death (ACTS 22:20). Yet the LORD not only saved this man, but He raised him up to become an apostle – and not just an apostle, but one that led the spiritual revolution of the Christian faith that spread across the Roman Empire like an inferno!

Many of the saints of GOD, if not most, had seen a dramatic turnaround from their former selves to the new person they became by faith: Jacob became Israel; Moses was once a high and noble statemen of Egypt, but became a lowly shepherd and the meekest man on the Earth; Cephas became Peter, who was cowering before a young girl and denied his LORD, but later became a fearless witness for Christ, standing toe to toe with the Sanhedrin – the very group of men that had Jesus crucified!

Then there is you and me: our story of transformation is not complete however. We are in process, and this shall culminate when we see our LORD face to Face!

As with Paul, this grace, as well as all the virtues of GOD, is “exceedingly abundant” in the faith and love of Jesus Christ towards us, dismissing the charges against all of our innumerable sins and washing us clean by the efficacious blood of the LAMB that makes us “white as snow”!

This marvel is available to anyone who seeks salvation and requests such from a repentant heart (see 2 COR 7:9-10; note vs. 20 below):
EPHESIANS 3:16-21
16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height-- 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
1 TIMOTHY 1:15-16
15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. 16 However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.

No doubt Paul believed himself to be worthy of the title “chief sinner” because of how he treated Christ prior to his conversion. Again, it’s important to realize that when Paul persecuted the church, the bride of Christ, he was in all actuality persecuting Christ Himself (ACTS 9:4). But our LORD’s prayer to the Father on behalf of this unbelieving blasphemer was certainly the same as the one He issued from the Cross: “Father, forgive him, he knows not what he does!”

Jesus Christ came into the world at His First Advent, not to condemn the world but to save it (JOHN 3:17) and this declaration the apostle deems faithful and worthy of acceptance. Later in this epistle he assigns another declaration as being worthy of acceptance and faithful:

1 TIMOTHY 4:8-9

8 For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. 9 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance.

Salvation and godliness are inextricably linked: where salvation is realized, godliness should be in evidence. Where such is lacking, one should consider whether or not the foundation of Christ has truly been established. This is not to say that our godliness will perfectly mirror that of Christ’s. Such perfection is only true from a positional stand point (ROMANS 4 establishes that the righteousness of Christ) – and godliness – are imputed to us vicariously in the Person of Christ, by the grace of GOD. 
But there should be proof that such godliness exists in the heart of one who claims to be born again in Christ by the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit.

Paul states that he is a kind of prototype (“a pattern”) of the Jew who once blasphemed and utterly rejected his Messiah (JOHN 1:11) – and who continue to do so even today, but that they will in fact come to salvation, even as Paul had! I refer to ROMANS 11 for the complete answer regarding the salvation of national Israel, which we are anticipating joyously when the Messiah returns to His own!

1 TIMOTHY 1:17

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

I recall being a part of an all-male choir once – there were enough guys there to drown me out, so I didn’t inflict too much damage on the audience! We sang this verse with such robust zeal and joy that it made me think about the time ahead when the church will witness her LORD for the first time in the real Presence (I’m not referring to the Eucharist here as the Roman Catholic church uses the term) of JESUS! When we see Him physically in all of His majesty and glory, and fall on our faces before Him, the eternal King Who for now (temporarily) is invisible to our (physical) eyes, full to overflowing with wisdom and honor and glory!

Such will be our worship of the KING of Kings and LORD of Lords forever and ever! I long for that day, when we will no longer have to deal with this ‘flesh cage’ (as has been aptly put by one of my sons in the faith) but delivered from corruption to incorruption (1 COR 15:53-54)!

We will be a bride of such purity, established practically just as it’s now established positionally, that there will be no marring of soul or stain in flesh that will impede such absolute devotion and adoration that our LORD is wholly worthy of!! And He shall admire the beautification and handiwork upon His bride as well (Check out Charles Spurgeon’s devotional on the subject from MORNING and EVENING – Dec. 2nd – Morning Reading: CHRIST VIEWS THE CHURCH.

We shall witness the unveiled heart of our LORD Jesus in infinite detail! Such revelation that has only begun in the here and now, as we learn of the Savior through the Word and by His Spirit will become sharper and clearer exponentially on that Day (1 COR 13:12), when He will reveal His glory to our amazement, only to see even more glories revealed throughout ‘the epochs of eternity’ just as we now see the advancements of spirituality in our lives, yielded to the LORD!
2 CORINTHIANS 3:18
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
1 TIMOTHY 1:18-20
18 This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, 20 of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

The Word of GOD directs our steps, our lives – and as we yield to the Spirit, our hearts, and minds into the will of GOD. Prophecy was given to Timothy regarding his calling as a pastor. Such directives will bring us great encouragement in the heat of battle, just as they undoubtedly did for Timothy as he engaged in his own “good warfare”!

This is the second time Paul mentioned “a good conscience” coupled together with “faith” (the first time in vs. 5: “…love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith”). Invaluable commodities from Christ that no minister can be without, nor any disciple for that matter! Victorious and good warfare must be preceded by a good conscience and faith!

It’s part of Satan’s strategy to compromise the Christian; to get them snared in some sin, then lambast them with the lashes of condemnation, keeping them down, guilt-ridden and at a distance from the LORD. This is why spiritual warfare is all about “upright and outreach”.

It’s the desire of every true blood-bought saint of GOD to be used of the LORD effectively in bringing about godly and blessed change in this rebellious, hell-bound world.

In preventing this from happening, Satan’s plan is to shipwreck us, so that we are no longer on course and living uprightly. Thus, any outreach will be ineffective or even non-existent!

By outreach, I’m not referring exclusively to sharing the Gospel (though this is absolutely an arena of warfare in which we are seeking to set free the POW’s in Satan’s prison camps!), but also the arenas of prayer, Bible reading and study, walking by grace in obedience to the truth as a faithful witness before the lost, encouraging and discipling the saints, etc.

For this, we need a good conscience and faith! To walk uprightly! A good conscience by remaining repentant in heart; and in loving obligation to obey the LORD and faith to believe GOD, that He is able to affect our lives (JUDE 1:23-25) in such a profound way, that we shall witness His work in and through us all the days of our lives!

Paul’s deliverance of Hymenaeus and Alexander over to Satan was in the hopes that they’d realize where they’d fallen and how their lives were ruined, and therefore repent of their blasphemies. Apparently Satan was successful in shipwrecking the faith of these two men and it didn’t get any better for Hymenaeus whose profane and ungodly ways only increased (2 TIM 2:16-17).

May that never be so with us. May we humbly seek the LORD in every hour, every moment of need, to be filled with His Spirit and devout ourselves to Him in surrender that brought and still brings salvation in all of its glorious aspects of justification and sanctification (and eventually, glorification! Maranatha!).

Incidentally, I found a comprehensive map of the three missionary journeys of Paul and company, that you might find informative! Click on this link

Next time, Chapter TWO!

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