Sunday, 11 February 2018
Now godliness with contentment is great gain. 1 Timothy 6:6
The words now given by Paul show a complete contrast to what he has just written concerning those who teach ungodly doctrine. In those verses, he described the perverse nature and teaching of those people, and then he said that they “suppose that godliness is a means of gain.” But Paul teaches otherwise by saying that “godliness with contentment is great gain.”
The false, ungodly teachers looked at godliness resulting in material gain and worldly wealth. But Paul shows that instead true gain for the godly is an internal thing – contentment. The word he chooses is found only here and in 2 Corinthians 9:8. It speaks of self-sufficiency. It is used of the Spirit-filled believer in Christ. Instead of pursuing supposed “godliness” in order to gain more and more material wealth, the faithful, godly Christian has all he needs through the indwelling of the Spirit of Christ.
In this, there is a self-satisfaction, but it is based on possessing everything necessary because of what Christ has done, and also because of what Christ grants. Thus, it is a sufficiency which is valid in times of difficulty and suffering as well as in times of prosperity and abundance.
Life application: If one is looking for contentment in worldly possessions, his contentment will end with the next market crash, the burning down of his house, or in the termination of his employment. Such times of trouble easily lead to extreme depression or even a leap out of the 14th floor of a building. But when one’s hope and trust is in Christ, the Christian can look beyond the temporary and see the eternal promises which lie yet ahead. Where is your hope? Where is your contentment? Where is your sufficiency?
Lord God, if our hope and joy is found in the things of this world, that is a pretty temporary and shallow place for it to be. Markets crash, houses burn down, and when jobs end, the pay stops coming in. If our hope is in those things, where will we then turn? But for the soul who knows Christ and His eternally glorious promises, nothing can truly steal our contentment, joy, hope, and sufficiency. Instead, these things are found in Him, and in His lasting promises to His faithful. Great is our promised inheritance! And great are You, O God, our Hope. Amen.