Saturday, 17 February 2018
Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:12
Paul has just previously exhorted Timothy with direct words of what he should do. He now continues to exhort him with strong and direct challenges to grow in the faith in a steadfast and hearty way. He begins with, “Fight the good fight of faith.” Actually, there is an article in front of “faith,” and so it should read, “Fight the good fight of the faith.”
He is using the terminology of the Grecian games here, having done this at other times in his epistles. They were as well known then as the Olympics are for us today. In this expression, he is equating Timothy to a fighter on a set team (the faith) and he is encouraging him to fight that good fight on its behalf. The goal of this fight is to “lay hold on eternal life.”
Again, there is an article in front of “eternal,” and so it more rightly says, “lay hold of the eternal life.” All people will live out an eternity somewhere. For those who are not in Christ, it will be an eternity, but not one of life. Instead, it will be one of corruption, but it will be eternal nonetheless. This is another reference to the Grecian games. Just as the crown of victory is held out to the victor to lay hold of, Timothy is exhorted to grasp this far more worthy prize. It is that which the victor will possess forever.
He then notes that it is this eternal life, “to which you were also called.” There are two aspects to this. The first is spiritual and inward. It is the call of any believer, who then responds to that call – accepting Christ Jesus and coming to salvation. In Timothy’s case, that call then transferred to a greater inner call to the ministry. In conjunction with this, there is also the outward calling which came by those who recognized his inward calling, confirming it in him as a minister of the Lord. This is evidenced by the words, “and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
In these words, Paul could be referring to Timothy’s conversion and baptism, or he could be referring to his acceptance into the ministry. What is more likely is that Paul is thinking of both. He is looking at the entire process of Timothy’s conversion, growth, inner desire to serve, review by those who would eventually ordain him, and his actual ordination process. In this, Timothy confessed the good confession at various times, and certainly “in the presence of many witnesses.”
The entire thought is one which is united, from beginning to end. Paul is exhorting Timothy based on who he is as a believer, and the process of his walk in Christ which brought him to the position he now is in. He is to continue that good fight, and continue to lay hold of the eternal life as the prize which is set before him.
Life application: How willing are you to continue to lay hold of that which you already possess? Is it wearisome to grasp what Christ has offered and pursue it continuously? Or is it your heart’s desire to grab it, hold it fast, and not let it go for a second? Don’t be the faithless Christian that says, “Yes, I’m saved. I’m good with that.” Instead, let the fire burn inside you always. “Yes, I’m saved. I will do all I can to continue to work out this salvation with joy and zeal.” May it ever be so in your life.
Lord God, for those of us who have called on Christ, may we never just be content with that. Instead, stir our hearts to not just “get saved,” but to pursue that salvation. Give us the hunger to read Your word, share in Your goodness, tell others about Your glory, hold fast to Your precepts, and never depart from a walk which is pleasing to You. Help us to be like those in a contest, striving to be the best that we can at all times. To Your glory, may this be so. Amen.