Saturday, 24 February 2018
…storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. 1 Timothy 6:19
This continues verse 18 which is dealing with “those are rich in this present age.” Taken together they read, “ Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, 19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”
In doing those things prescribed in verse 18, the rich will then be “storing up for themselves a good foundation.” A foundation is the base of a structure. Jesus is called the foundation of the church in 1 Corinthians 3:11. Then in Ephesians the foundation is called “the apostles and prophets,” meaning the word which speaks of Jesus, and Jesus is the very cornerstone of the foundation. The importance of Christ to the church then is that He is the fundamental base of everything else. For the rich – when they do good, are rich in good works, are ready to give, and are willing to share – they then lay “a good foundation for the time to come.”
This is speaking of the life ahead, not a needy time in this life which may arise. It is a foundation for their eternal existence which begins with the judgment seat of Christ where “each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10). Paul specifically describes the works of this age and how they will be viewed in 1 Corinthians 3:12-15. There he says –
“Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”
This is what Paul is referring to now in his letter to Timothy. The rich in this life have choices concerning what they will do with the money entrusted to them. Will it be used for this life, temporary and fleeting as it is, or will it be used for gaining true riches in heaven? Paul’s words implore the rich to think this through so that “they may lay hold on eternal life.”
The word “eternal” here is found in some manuscripts. In others it says “truly.” In other words, “lay hold on that which is truly life.” If “truly” is correct, the meaning is obvious. This life is only a preparation for what lies ahead. Thus, “worldly riches” would be contrasted with “true riches.” If “eternal” is correct, it doesn’t change the doctrine of salvation by grace apart from works, which is defined elsewhere. Rather, as John Gill states it, “not by way of merit, but as the free gift of God, which the riches of grace give a title to, and a fitness for; and which shall be laid hold upon, and enjoyed by all that seek the true riches.”
Life application: What are you storing up your riches for? The Bible asks you to stop and consider this now. Eternity is a really long time.
Lord God, help us to be good and kind to others as their needs arise. Though it is prudent to save our money in this life, and Your word even tells us to save for our children’s children, help us not to make this the only goal of our few years here. Rather, along the way, grant us opportunities to tend to others with our money, and then spur us on to do so with an open hand of grace, expecting nothing in return. May we thus be pleasing people in Your sight. Amen.