Friday, 26 January 2018
For some have already turned aside after Satan. 1 Timothy 5:15
Paul now gives the result of what he warned against in verses 11 through 13. Some widows had left their profession of devotion to the Lord which they made when they became widows. Instead, they had turned, growing wanton against Christ. This is exactly the reason for having implored the younger widows to marry, bear children, and manage the house. In this, there would be no opportunity for the adversary to speak reproachfully.
What is important to understand, is that the very reason for writing these words to Timothy was because this situation had already arisen. Instead of following Christ, they had “turned after Satan.” This does not mean that there is a loss of salvation. It means that their lives would be judged according to their actions which were lived contrary to Christ. This is made explicit in the examples of 1 Corinthians 5, and which penalty is summed up in verse 5 of that chapter, and then Paul again uses the same terminology in chapter 1 of this epistle. In verse 20, Paul told Timothy that he had handed Hymenaeus and Alexander over to Satan “that they may learn not to blaspheme.” In both of those cases, no loss of salvation can be inferred. Rather, Paul’s words indicate a corrective measure.
In the case of these widows, they had left the path of the Lord, and they had turned after Satan. In following that path, they would suffer in this life, and they would suffer loss in the next, but a saved person is saved. To say that one must do something in order to “keep” being saved is to nullify salvation by grace through faith. Either salvation is by grace through faith once and for all time, or it is a false doctrine. And it is certainly not a false doctrine.
To grasp this, just be honest and answer the question, “Have you ever told a lie since coming to Christ?” The answer is probably, “Yes.” Pretty much every saved believer has. But is telling a lie following after Christ, or is it following after Satan? Jesus said of the devil, “When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it” (John 10:44). If one were to say that Paul’s words concerning these widows indicated a loss of salvation, then logically, he would be saying the same thing about himself. Whether one turns aside for a lengthy period, or one turns aside for a short period is irrelevant. If you have lied, you have turned aside after Satan. Doctrine matters, and doctrine is logical and orderly because God is logical and orderly.
Life application: Paul’s words are often so easily misunderstood because they are taken out of the greater context of his writings. Keep things in context, study the entire body of Paul’s letters, and use logic and order when considering the nature of God, the nature of salvation, and the consequences of being disobedient to the Lord. In having sound doctrine, you will also have soundness in your walk with the Lord.
It is a beautiful thing to have one’s sins atoned for, O God. To realize what You did in order for that to come about is the most amazing, the most humbling, and the most marvelous thing that we can ever consider. Thank You for the giving of Christ, our Lord that His work would satisfy Your righteous requirements of the law, and that His atoning death would satisfy Your wrath for our failure under that law. Thank You for the peace which is found in coming to the cross. Hallelujah and amen!