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Scripture reading – 1 Timothy 1; 1 Timothy 2
Having introduced Paul’s 1st Epistle to Timothy in a prior devotion, we begin with his charge to the young preacher. Paul wrote, “Now the end of the commandment is charity [self-sacrificing love] out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned [sincere faith; without hypocrisy]” (1:5).
Paul’s commandment charged Timothy with three principles that are the foundation for loving and ministering to others (Matthew 22:37-39; John 13:34-35). Genuine, Christlike love springs from a “pure heart” (1:5a), meaning one not encumbered with sin or deceit. A pure heart is single-minded, honest, and sincere. Remember, to the “pure in heart,” Jesus promised, “they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). The second requisite for loving and serving others is a “good conscience” (1:5b). A “good conscience” is sensitive to, and self-aware of one’s sin and guilt. Such a conscience is blameless, and free of guilt and remorse. Thirdly, Paul desired Timothy would be a man of “faith unfeigned” (1:5). Such faith is genuine, sincere, and confident in the Lord Jesus.
Verse 5 might be summed up in this truth: The love of the believer is not the product of “fables” and false doctrines (1:4), but springs from a pure heart, clear conscience, and sincere faith.
Paul’s letter to Timothy was one the young preacher would have read and reread as he carried the responsibility of pastoring believers in Ephesus. Remembering Ephesus was the center of the religious cult to Diana (Acts 19), and Paul had ministered in the area for two full years (Acts 19:10), he was aware of the opposition Timothy faced.
The Charm of False Teachers (1:6-7)
Already, some believers had “swerved” from their profession of faith, and fallen preyed to the “vain jangling” of some who aspired “to be teachers of the law” (1:6-7). Of those men who would have some believe they were rabbis (“teachers of the law”), Paul declared, they were ignorant, encouraging endless debate, giving rise to questions, but knowing nothing (1:7).
The Cancer of False Teachers (1:8-11)
Because Paul preached salvation was by grace through faith, and not of the works of the law, some accused him of diminishing the law. He answered their charge, and wrote: “we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully” (1:8).
Some reading this devotion are members of churches, and sit under preachers and teachers who minimize, and negate the important role the Law and Commandments have for all men, of all ages. False teachers of the 21stcentury have been busy diminishing the role of God’s Law and Commandments, under the guise of championing grace. Those false teachers, and their followers, charge others with legalism, and foster a spirit of rebellion under the guise of the “Gospel of Grace.”
The Law and commandments are good, and should be preached and taught, because they convict and convince sinners of their need of a Savior. In Paul’s words, “the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:24). Therefore, “the law is not made for a righteous man” (1:9a), but for the “lawless and disobedient” (1:9b).
Closing thoughts (1:9-10) – Carnality defines many, if not the majority, of those who profess to be followers of Christ in the 21st century. The failure of pastors, teachers, and parents to teach the Law and Commandments, has given rise to a “lawless and disobedient” membership (1:9b).
We will never see spiritual revival in our homes, churches, and institutions, until we preach and teach the law and commandments “for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine” (1:9-10).
Challenge – Are you righteous or carnal? Your response to the Law and Commandments is indicative or who you are (Psalm 1). The righteous man “delight(s) in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” The ungodly resent the Law, despise its teachings, and “the way of the ungodly shall perish” (Psalm 1:6)
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Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith
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