In the course of our daily lives, do you live with a deep concern that something you said could damage God’s reputation to the point that people will say bad things about God and the teachings that are found in scripture?
While they may think that person just ruined who God is for me, the reality is, you cannot ruin God’s reputation. He stands above all else, no matter how badly you screwed up. This conversation was associated with 1 Timothy 6:1, where Paul spoke about the relationship of a slave with their master – the person with the whip. When we covered this verse, it was easy to see that this directive can easily apply to the employee/supervisor relationship; and this is spelled out distinctly by Dr. J. Vernon McGee when he said.
“The Christian should render a full day’s work for whomever he is working. If he agrees to work until five o’clock, he should work until five o’clock. Then sometimes workers leave with their pickaxe hanging in the air—they don’t finish up. The Christian is to turn in a full day’s work for a full day’s pay.”
There are plenty of people who see how badly you look when you act like this, and this is a worst-case scenario.
1 Timothy 6:2 initiates a section that the NASB translators entitle:
False Teachers and True Contentment.
The translations vary a little, and to be honest, I have to struggle to find common ground in some of them.
1 Timothy 6:2 CJB And those who have believing masters are not to show them less respect on the ground that they are brothers; on the contrary, they should serve all the more diligently since those benefiting from their service are believers whom they love. Teach and exhort people about these things.
Hold up a minute here. This translation is expressing the idea that this slave/laborer thinks that it would be appropriate to disrespect this owner/boss/supervisor MERELY because they are a follower of Christ.
What would possess you to think that is appropriate?
I used to sit with a group of men who apparently thought that excessive cussing was something that grace permitted you to do. Let me remind you that Jesus DID NOT come to do away with the Law. He came to fulfill the Law.
“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. “For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” (Matthew 5:17-18 NASB)
Besides that, this law, since the time of the Holy Spirit, is written upon our hearts.
“Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them, and on their heart, I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” (Jeremiah 31:31-33 NASB)
The words of Jeremiah are repeated in Hebrews 10:16, validating the prophetic theme of the Word in the New Testament.
So, you are still controlled by the Law and yet free. Ah, the mystery of grace. Being controlled by the Law does not mean that we have to be circumcised to come into a relationship with Jesus Christ; that relationship happens based on faith alone. However, merely because you call yourself, a Christian gives you no excuse to abuse others, especially those who are a part of the fellowship.
1 Timothy 6:2 goes on to say,
“but must serve them all the more.”
Another way of stating this, according to the NLT, “Those slaves should work all the harder.” Context tells us that this is talking about those in subservience, whether a slave or an employee. If you had a question about why you should work all the harder, Paul explains why this makes sense.
As God’s Word translation states,
“because those who receive the benefit of their work are believers whom they love.”
Perhaps you never thought of this relationship you have with others in this manner?
The Moffatt translation finishes off verse two in this manner.
“This is what you are to teach and preach.”
We are not preaching business; we are teaching the advantage of righteous relationships.
1 Timothy 6:3-5 NASB If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, (4) he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, (5) and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain.
I could stretch my imagination and say if anyone advocates that grace gives them the freedom to be offensive to everyone with their cussing; they are, at minimum, wrong; and, they are, by their actions, not conforming to sound doctrine, which is godliness.
Paul continues the descriptions by saying they are:
- understand nothing,
- have a morbid interest in controversial questions,
- among those who dispute about words. The NLT translation tells us that, “Such a person has an unhealthy desire to quibble over the meaning of words.” If this person can have an unhealthy desire to quibble over the meaning of words; then, there is an appropriate place and purpose for discussing the meanings. In my own interactions, I have pointed out that even the simplest of words does NOT mean what you think they mean. You also have to remember that our scriptural translations result from man’s research and the underlying motivations that drove these early translations. One of the predominant examples of a bad translation can be found in 2 Thessalonians 2:3. Here, at the direction of the State church – the Catholic church, the word apostasia, which means the gathering, was changed to read, the falling away – the apocalypse, to reflect the disgust the church felt toward those who had left the “mother” church and gone over to Protestantism.
To continue Paul’s descriptions, because of their actions, they cause:
- abusive language to flourish
- and evil suspicions to arise.
- and constant friction between people with depraved minds who are deprived of the truth
- And, you suppose that godliness is a means of gain.
Look at how the NLT conveys verse five.
1 Timothy 6:5 NLT These people always cause trouble. Their minds are corrupt, and they have turned their backs on the truth. To them, a show of godliness is just a way to become wealthy.
Paul tells us how to identify the person who advocates a different gospel; this could be essential information for Jesus, who told us about the tares and the wheat, knew full well that you can’t legitimately tell by a casual look if someone carries a false doctrine inside them; for when they begin talking what they say frequently sounds good, and appeals to the passions of our heart at the moment.
An example of this comes to mind, in light of our new Los Angeles County, California lock-down, in which we are supposed to stay indoors, where we live. Even though we are locked-down, we can go shopping and to church – but in an even more restricted public environment than previous limitations. And, we are free to protest without restrictive considerations. Hiking trails are still usable, as long as you don’t interact with anyone outside your homegroup.
Personally, since I know that the Covid 19 is nothing less than a bogus means of controlling the populace, I am enraged, and I don’t know what to do with this anger I feel. A friend of mine, who borders on homelessness because he lives in his camper (by choice,) claims that he has never worn a mask during this time of the Covid.
How is that possible?
It can only work through attempts at aggressive refusals, but that can only work for so long, and then you get arrested by tired, angry law enforcement, who is being played by the government.
I have met these people who advocate a different gospel in my migration through several churches over the years, and so have you. And, though these individuals do not hold every detail of Paul’s description in one human being, they are out there none-the-less. So we have to be prepared to pick out those with false doctrines by their words and actions.