Saturday, 12 May 2018
Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. May the Lord repay him according to his works. 2 Timothy 4:14
This bad guy at first seems to be the same one referred to in 1 Timothy 1:20, but it is more probable that he is the individual identified in Acts 19:33. This is because he is identified as “the coppersmith.” The other Alexander, in 1 Timothy 1:20, is not so named. Paul seems to be making a distinction between the two. However, if he is the same as in 1 Timothy, it doesn’t mean he isn’t saved, or that he has lost his salvation. Rather, exactly the opposite is true based on the same terminology being used in 1 Corinthians 5. Handing someone over to Satan is a corrective measure, not a note of condemnation.
But, with the assumption that he is identified in Acts 19 and not in 1 Timothy, he is a person who was chosen to speak against Paul. He was a Jew and not favorable to faith in Christ as the fulfillment of their laws. As such, he would be one that instead of simply trusting in the grace of Jesus Christ, and allowing others to do so, continuously worked to have others brought back under the law of Moses – an annulled, obsolete, and set aside law. It is a law that was “nailed to the cross” according to Paul in Colossians 2:14. Paul says that this wayward soul, “did me much harm.” The Greek reads “did me much evil.” Based on his coming words, it seems clear that he testified against Paul in a legal sense. Whatever other things he did against Paul, it was enough for him to say, “May the Lord repay him according to his works.”
Paul is not seeking personal revenge, but the Lord’s righteousness. In harming the apostle, the apostle’s message was hindered. The gospel message is the means of salvation for all men. Therefore, if a Judaizer creeps in and steals people away from the grace found in Jesus Christ, their repayment is justly due. If not saved, they will receive their just condemnation. If saved, they can stand at the back of the line in heaven when rewards are handed out. If they persisted in their aberrant doctrine, they will be repaid with a frown and a handful of nothing. There will be only loss.
Life application: It cannot be stressed enough that those who teach adherence to the Law of Moses, in part or in whole, are to be utterly rejected. There is one gospel, and that is that Jesus Christ has fulfilled the law. We are not under law, but under grace. To reapply the law to one’s life, doctrine, and practice, is to set aside the grace of Jesus Christ. It is in essence, “Nice try Jesus, but I can do better.”
Heavenly Father, it has become fashionable for sects of Christians to teach observance of some, or all, of the Law of Moses in their daily lives as a part of somehow adhering to Your commandments. But Jesus has fulfilled the law, and initiated a New Covenant in His own blood. Shall we say to You, “Nice try God. Jesus did OK, but I can do better”? Or should we rest in the finished work of Jesus? Help us to see rightly and to apply what has been accomplished to our walk before You. Help us to live in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.