When I closed the last post on 1Timothy chapter six verse 13, we ended with “I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate.”
Right away, I realize that I, and Paul, are making a huge assumption, and that is that you have a world view founded in the Word of God and understand that there is no law to which we answer that is higher than God’s law.
Note that I said, to which we answer. Having spent much of my life in the church, this idea of answering to God carried the penalty of hell. I have since come to understand that hell plays no part in a believer’s life, except to understand that Satan, and those who choose to follow him, will spend eternity there. When I say I lived under this misconception, it is not an idea that I actively tried to develop, but one which was repeatedly imposed upon me. My mother, bless her darling heart, expressed it to us children, and it was nothing less than the things she learned during her early days in the church.
So, for Paul to express that before the eyes of God, with whom nothing gets by Him, should carry deep importance and responsibility. If you are a Bible student, you have noticed that obeying God carried great reward, whereas disobeying brought on penalties. It is not as if God is going to or needs to strike you down; we are already down because we were born into sin. Let me give you a scriptural reference or two.
Deuteronomy 28:1-4 NASB (1) “Now it shall be, if you diligently obey the LORD your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the LORD, your God, will set you high above all the nations of the earth. (2) “All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey the LORD your God: (3) “Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country. (4) “Blessed shall be the offspring of your body and the produce of your ground and the offspring of your beasts, the increase of your herd and the young of your flock.
This list of blessings just seems to go on and on. However, there is a negative side.
Deuteronomy 28:15-21 NLT “But if you refuse to listen to the LORD your God and do not obey all the commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come and overwhelm you: (16) Your towns and your fields will be cursed. (17) Your fruit baskets and breadboards will be cursed. (18) Your children and your crops will be cursed. The offspring of your herds and flocks will be cursed. (19) Wherever you go and whatever you do, you will be cursed. (20) “The LORD himself will send on you curses, confusion, and frustration in everything you do until at last you are completely destroyed for doing evil and abandoning me. (21) The LORD will afflict you with diseases until none of you are left in the land you are about to enter and occupy.
While it clearly says that the Lord himself sends curses on you. This statement is not difficult to understand when you realize that the earth we live on has a curse on it, and that is where we live. In Genesis chapter three, we see Satan attempting to deceive Eve, and he did. The pathetic aspect of this deception is Adam stood right there, beside her, hearing everything being said. Do we see him scream out in protest? Not at all, so Eve handed the fruit, that she had taken a bite out of, to Adam; and, by his actions, he committed high treason and handed the earth over to Satan.
Here is what God said about Adam’s actions.
Genesis 3:17 NASB Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil, you will eat of it All the days of your life.
The other thing I wanted you to see from 1Timothy 6:13 is that Jesus “testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate.” In the previous post, I think I mentioned how Jesus was physically abused by the temple guards and then handed over to the Roman guards, who beat him to within an inch of his life, among other things. To put it bluntly, he was tortured for His faith, yet He still made a good confession before Pilate. I pray that should that day come, I am so strong in my faith and understanding of God that I serve that I also make a good confession.
With that, let’s move on.
1 Timothy 6:13-16 NASB I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, (14) that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, (15) which He will bring about at the proper time–He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, (16) who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.
You already know that Jesus testified a good confession before Pontius Pilate. Still, Paul continues by saying, you keep the commandment… until the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He will bring about at the proper time. Think about this, the commandment has everything to do with the appearance of Jesus Christ, who will come at the proper time.
I am not a grammarian, but I do have common sense; and, I have to apply that common sense to the paragraph above because, upon my initial read, I thought that the phrase, “which He will bring about at the proper time,” applied to a commandment which motivated Christ’s return, and which we do not see in this passage.
I see now that the commandment has much to do with Paul’s words in 1 Timothy 6:10-12. There we can see that verse 10 carries an admonition about money because the love of money will cause you all kinds of grief.
In verse 11, Paul declares that Timothy, and those he teaches, need to flee from these things. These things include the love of money and the things that are to be understood as being in opposition to what we see as good in verse 11 – righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness.
Verse 12 details how we are to fight the good fight of faith, but how long?
Until Christ returns to catch us away. But there is another aspect that we fail to pay attention to. I will give you several examples.
The Tree of Life translation states: “Take hold of the eternal life—you were called to it, and you made the good confession for it in the presence of many witnesses.”
The NLT conveys this: “Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses.”
The Complete Jewish Bible puts it this way. “take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you testified so well to your faith before many witnesses.”
For me, and I might add, this aspect where we take hold of this eternal life that is now ours through Christ Jesus has become crucial in light of the Presidential transition here in the United States of America. We, the people, got robbed; and the people who robbed us do not care, as they are fulfilling a grand and evil scheme that is played out in scripture.
On several occasions, I have been told not to pursue God, nor talk about eschatology, because Jesus Christ will probably not be back for, say, forty more years. I cannot endure such talk because I am well aware of current events going on globally. We could wake up to the news that Iran is firing missiles and lighting up the Middle East. Some would literally pull their hair out at such news but not me; for on that day, I will throw both arms in the air and shout praise the Lord, because my Jesus will be here at any minute.
1 Timothy 6:15 tells us, “…At just the right time, Christ will be revealed from heaven by the blessed and only almighty God, the King of all kings and Lord of all lords. (NLT)
And, until that day happens, we are not to be terribly concerned because –
… through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see. (1 Peter 1:5 NLT)
At the right time, He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords.
1 Timothy 6:16a NLT He alone can never die,
1 Timothy 6:16b CJB who dwells in unapproachable light that no human being has ever seen or can see,
And though may not be honored now, the day is coming when _
1 Timothy 6:16c CEV God will be honored, and his power will last forever. Amen.
Once again, Paul directs Timothy to speak candidly; this time to the rich.
1 Timothy 6:17 NASB Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.
At times I find it difficult to comprehend that believers could be among those who are rich in this current worldly atmosphere.
The Greek word translated as rich can also mean abounding.
So my comprehension is just wrong. Look at Abraham.
So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev, he and his wife and all that belonged to him, and Lot with him. Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver and in gold. (Genesis 13:1-2 NASB)
The word, directed, as said to Timothy, is the Greek word paraggellō. A common translation is to instruct, but it takes on a whole new meaning if you are not in a relationship with the hearer. The word also means to transmit a message, which is understandable, as Timothy preaches to a general but primarily Jewish crowd of converts.
Conceited by definition means: Entertaining a flattering opinion of one’s self.
In my Bible, we never see Abraham holding a flattering opinion of himself. 1Timothy 6:17 conveys that we are not to fix our hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God.
Is that what we saw with Abraham?
Without a doubt, and I would hope that you noticed, above all else, that Abraham put his faith in God.
1 Timothy 6:18, 19 NLT Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. By doing this, they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.
Use your money to do good.
Be rich in good works.
It is not because you are trying to earn a better position, next to Christ in heaven, but because it is a decent thing to do in God’s eyes.
If, at all possible, be generous to those in need.
Always be ready to share with others.
And yes, Paul does explain that there is a benefit being stored in the future (in heaven,) for those that do good works. I can associate this with what I see in Matthew 25. You should read verses 31-46 on your own time. The context is that all the dead have been called to this throne. We see the same thing in Revelation 20, where we see the Great White Throne. Dead, these people did not go up in the rapture, so they were not believers, as we understand it. There is another group of dead and that number grows through the seven years of God’s wrath. Again, the Revelation defines that an innumerable amount who die for their testimony through this time called the Great Tribulation, however, these are resurrected to God, and therefore excluded from this call for the dead. Hard-pressed to define the how and why of this group, all I can do is to realize that God’s mercy is beyond my comprehension. Look at how they obtain their entrance into the kingdom.
Matthew 25:34-36 NASB “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. (35) ‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; (36) naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’
The actions of these people look like works, but not really, because those who attempt to gain their entrance into the kingdom, are told, that doesn’t work, it is by faith alone.
Romans 3:20 NASB because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.
Well, there you have it, NO ONE will be justified in God’s sight, and yet, this group in Matthew 25:43-36. Obviously, we cannot stop here.
Galatians 2:16 NASB nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.
It is only by faith through and in Christ Jesus. I know, this doesn’t explain how these people gain access, but then, as I said, God’s mercy is beyond our understanding. An example of this might be the parable of the person who gets hired, at the beginning of the day, and then gets enraged as others are hired just before dusk, for the same wage. These people that the NASB calls the king, is also the great shepherd and has the right to bring others into the kingdom based upon their acts of kindness, or mercy.
Paul finishes chapter six with an admonition to Timothy.
1 Timothy 6:20-21 NLT Timothy, guard what God has entrusted to you. Avoid godless, foolish discussions with those who oppose you with their so-called knowledge. (21) Some people have wandered from the faith by following such foolishness. May God’s grace be with you all.
Guard what God has entrusted to you.
Guard also means to watch over or preserve. This responsibility falls on no but us.
How do you go about doing that?
I am glad you asked. Paul tells us to “avoid godless, foolish discussions with those who oppose you with their so-called knowledge.” I find that I have opportunities to deal with these foolish discussions on a daily basis, and not because it is a situation that I long for.
Paul tells Timothy that some have wandered from the faith by following what these people have spewed out of their mouths as they disperse their foolishness.
If you have not figured it out Paul, wrote to a believer (Timothy) about those who are either believers themselves or feigning a belief; I do the same when I write. Don’t go getting judgmental because we have just moved over into the wheat and tares category. In the horticultural world, I had to learn to distinguish between a weed called brome and wheat; they look so similar, and though I have forgotten far too much. For a time, I knew how to make the distinction between the two. Since most of us do not, we have to leave the separation and, therefore, the pulling of those weeds by God.