Monday, January 18, 2010

1 Timothy 6:11-16

V11-16 –11But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15which God will bring about in His own time – God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To Him be honor and might forever. Amen.

V11-16 include five additional exhortations for Timothy, regarding his sanctification, and a glorious doxology. Paul calls Timothy a “man of God,” and urges him to (1) flee false teaching and (2) fight complacency by aggressively (3) pursuing “righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness,” as well as (4) taking hold “of the eternal life to which” he was called. The Christian life, one measured by progress, is truly a lifelong battle, even for those who have made great strides. Paul also reminds Timothy in this passage of the doctrine of election, that eternal life was chosen for us, not by us; yet we must take hold of it (Philippians 2:12-13). Timothy took hold of it when he “made the good confession,” likely when he proclaimed Jesus as Lord at his baptism; but he has to (5) “keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.” In other words, just as Jesus “before Pontius Pilate made the good confession” (v13) with His voluntary sacrificial death, so Timothy can continually proclaim “his good confession” by giving up his life in the service of his congregation. And he will persevere as God, who “gives life to everything” (and, by implication, preserves it) and who “will bring about [the return of Jesus] in His own time,” leads.

In v15, Paul praises God as sovereign, “the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords” (Revelation 17:14; 19:16). He alone has knowledge of and controls the first and second coming of His Son Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 2:8; 2 Timothy 1:10; 4:1,8; Titus 2:11,13). This praise leads Paul into a glorious doxology (v16-17). Paul praises God as the only God; there is only one God. Paul praises God, who alone is immortal, referring to eternal existence and incapability of ceasing to be. Paul praises God, “who lives in unapproachable light,” which refers to the Shekinah glory, a permanent state of being and dwelling. Paul praises God, “whom no one has seen or can see,” due to His holiness; yet believers have seen Him revealed in Jesus. We live in Him, and He in us by His Holy Spirit. And Paul issues “honor and might” to Him forever, concluding with an affirmative “Amen.”

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