1 Timothy 6:17

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. 1 Timothy 6:17

Who is Paul speaking to in this verse? Timothy. And who is Paul speaking about in this verse? Believers in the church. Paul is wholly unconcerned with the status of those outside the church. And how does Paul describe those he is speaking about in this verse? Rich in this present age.

Paul has spoken about slaves at the beginning of the chapter. In verse 6, he spoke of what true riches are in saying, “Now godliness with contentment is great gain.” He then explained that we came in with nothing and will depart with nothing. He then spoke of those who desired to be rich. After that, he spoke of Christ, the Possessor of all of heaven’s riches – King of kings and Lord of lords – and yet it is He who made the good confession before Pontius Pilate, stripped of all worldly wealth, and about to be crucified.

Now Paul returns to the rich. He is not speaking to those “who desire to be rich” of verse 6, but of “those who are rich in this present age.” These are believers who possessed wealth. How they obtained it is not stated. Maybe it was through inheritance. Maybe it was through conquest while in the military. Maybe they invented something useful to the empire and were rewarded for it. It doesn’t matter how they obtained it. Instead, Paul simply acknowledges that they possess worldly wealth. To those, he commands them “not to be haughty.” The word Paul chooses is found only here. It is a compound word signifying “high” and “inner perspective regulating behavior.” In other words, someone high-minded, or someone who elevates himself above others. It would be someone who has unwarranted pride because of his wealth.

The connection to the bondservant of the earlier verses shouldn’t be missed. Paul first and foremost classifies people as believers and unbelievers, not on position (master/slave) or possession (rich/poor). Nor does he find any other distinction by which one should be elevated above another, with the exception of faithfulness in ministry (double honor of verse 5:17). For a rich person to elevate himself above another is actually a denial of the truth that it is from God that the blessing of wealth actually came. In 1 Corinthians 4, Paul said this to the church –

“…that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other. For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” 1 Timothy 4:6, 7

As they had received what they possess, they are not to be haughty about their possession. He then adds, “nor to trust in uncertain riches.” Again, a word found only here in Scripture is used. It signifies two things. First, the wealth is indefinite. Secondly, that such wealth will not be recognized in heaven. It thus lacks any true value in God’s bar of judgment. And so, not only are they to not be haughty about their wealth, but they are not to trust in their wealth as well. All earthly wealth can and will end. The lesson of the book of Job shows us this, as does the great wealth of Solomon’s empire, which was quickly frittered away. Such things are uncertain, and can be gone in a breath.

And so, instead of trusting in personal riches, they are commanded to trust “in the living God.” He is the Source of all things, and therefore when we trust in Him, we are trusting in that which can never be taken away. All true wealth is derived from Him, and it is He “who gives us richly all things to enjoy.” This is a different way of saying exactly what he said to the Corinthians. What we have came from Him; it was given to us to enjoy in this life, and as we received it, we are not to boast as if we did not.

The word translated as “enjoy” is found only here and in Hebrews 11:25. It speaks of the benefit received from what is possessed or experienced. Paul is making a contrast between being haughty about wealth, and rightly enjoying it as a blessing bestowed from God. In the next verse, he will describe how that enjoyment is truly realized.

Life application: At the beginning of the commentary, questions were asked about those Paul is speaking of. They are rich, and they are believers. Neither Paul, nor any other writer in the Bible, says that it is wrong to be rich. It is how a person treats their wealth which is either right or wrong. It is never even implied that a person should divest himself of wealth, but to be a proper steward of what he possesses. Don’t let the envious tread on what you possess, but don’t let the downtrodden be tread upon by you because of your possessions.

Lord God, You have granted some of Your people to be wealthy. For those who are, help them to understand that their wealth ultimately came from You, and that they are not to be haughty in their riches. At the same time, help those who are poor to not be envious of others who have more. May those who have little not tread upon the wealthy because of their possessions, but may the wealthy not tread upon the downtrodden because of their wealth. May we use what we have, be it little or be it much, to Your glory. Amen.

1 Timothy 6:16

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

…who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen. 1 Timothy 6:16

In the preceding verse, Paul described God as “the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords.” It was noted then that this same title is used elsewhere of Jesus, showing that though Man, He is also God. Paul now continues on with His description of God with the words, “who alone has immortality.”

Angels are created beings. Even if they are eternal from their creation, they were created. Men are created and finite in their existence (in the state they are now in). Only God is without beginning or end. He is infinite in His existence and stands apart from His creation. He is self-existent and a Necessary Being (one who cannot “not” exist). He is. It should be noted that Jesus is described elsewhere as immortal. Thus, as there is only one God, He is God; a part of the Godhead which Scripture describes.

Paul notes next that God is “dwelling in an unapproachable light.” The Greek reads, “dwelling in light unapproachable.” Eternity itself is described as light from which proceeds the eternal God. It is as a covering in which He is enveloped, and which no finite being can approach. The reason is that God is infinite. No being in creation can look at the infinite, only whatever portion God has revealed to him. To be able to see the infinite in its entirety would mean that the being is God.

As there is only one God, it excludes any created being from beholding and grasping all that God is. Psalm 104 says of God, “Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment, Who stretch out the heavens like a curtain.” Both His infinite nature in time and in space are indicated in those words. And again, in Daniel 2:22, it says that “light dwells with Him.” The Bible is consistent on this infinite nature of God.

Paul continues with, “whom no man has seen or can see.” There is abundant support in the Bible for this statement. God said to Moses that, “no man shall see Me, and live.” To fully peer into the infinite is impossible. If God were to fully reveal Himself to finite eyes, it would destroy them; overwhelming them with glory. John repeats this concept in his first epistle by saying that “No one has seen God at any time.”

This is the purpose of the Incarnation of Christ. God entered into His creation, uniting with it in a unique way in order for us to “see the Father” as He reveals Himself in Christ. Jesus stated this in John’s gospel. There He said, speaking of the Father, “…from now on you know Him and have seen Him” (14:7). He then said directly, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (v. 9). This does not mean that we have seen all of the Father, but the means by which the Father chooses to reveal Himself, which is through the Son. Jesus Christ is the bridge between the infinite God who cannot be seen, and the finite beings He has created. Thus, in eternity, we will never fully “see” God the Father. Rather, we will ceaselessly, endlessly, and eternally see Him as the Son reveals Him.

Paul then says of Him, “to whom be honor and everlasting power.” This is a description of God which is explained by Paul’s words to the Romans. There he said, “For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever” (Romans 11:36).

“For of Him” indicates that He, Jesus, is the Creator and the Source of everything. For “through Him” indicates that God is the Sustainer of all things. He is the unseen agency of our continued existence.” For “to Him” shows that He is the end-purpose and goal of all things. He is the final and ultimate reason for everything which was created. To more fully understand this, read the commentary on Romans 11:36.

The power in creation came from the Creator. The beauty of creation came from Him as well. All things honorable first came from Him. Those things continue to exist because of Him. And the glory which He has created finds its purpose for being glorious in Him. Thus, when Paul says “to whom be honor and everlasting power,” it is an indication that everything done by God is a reflection of who He is, and it is there as a demonstration of His infinite being, calling out to us to reflect on His glory which exceeds that which is created.

Paul then closes with “Amen.” It is a statement reflecting “truth” or “so be it.” He has made a point concerning the Creator which is truthful, and we are to consider what he has said as such.

Life application: One of the greatest errors in the minds of Christians is that we will someday fully see God the Father. As noted above, this is impossible. He is infinite, and we can never see all of what is infinite. However, Jesus has showed us that if we have seen Him, we have seen the Father. In other words, we have seen the exact representation of the Father, but not all of the Father. When we look to Jesus, we are seeing the Father revealed to us in a manner which we can comprehend without being destroyed. This will continue on for all eternity as the Son reveals the infinite Father to us.

Lord God, how simply astonishing it is to think of Your glory. We peer into the heavens, even for countless light years, and we see wonder beyond comprehension. We can look into the atom and continue finding smaller and smaller workings which go beyond our ability to see. Everything works as it should, even though we can never perceive it all. And yet, it was created by You. If this is so, then You are greater than all we see, and all we have yet to see. How glorious You truly are. May we stand in awe of Your holiness, and never assume that life is out of control. You have created, and You sustain. Why should we fret with such magnificent power tending to us. All glory and honor belong to You! Amen.

1 Timothy 6:15

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

…which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 1 Timothy 6:15

Paul, while giving Timothy a solemn charge, exhorted him to keep the commandment faithfully “until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing.” Now he continues with that thought by saying, “which He will manifest in His own time.”

It doesn’t say here that God will manifest Christ Jesus on a date when rapture date-setters say will occur. Paul leaves His manifestation up to God. There will be no hint of His appearing until He chooses to appear, and it will be a specific moment in time which is completely at His choosing, and His alone. As Charles Ellicott states, “Here the language of fervid expectation is qualified by words which imply that in St. Paul’s mind then there was no certainty about the period of the ‘coming of the Lord.’ It depended on the unknown and mysterious counsels of the Most High.”

From there, Paul then states, “He who is the blessed and only Potentate.” The word here is dunastés. It is where our modern word “dynasty” comes from, and it signifies one who is a ruler or potentate. It is someone mighty in power. In this case, it means that only God is truly in such a position of rule and power, and that any other is below Him. The position He rules from is above all others. This is then explained by the words, “the King of kings and Lord of lords.”

Any king or lord on earth is subject to His true kingship and lordship. The scepters they possess are only because of His allowance. It is He who sets up kings and deposes them. No rule and no authority attains to His position, and all will acknowledge this rule when they are gathered before Him.

In the words found here and the coming verses, scholars attribute these titles to God directly. And rightly so (see verse 13). The next verse describes that which can only pertain to God. However, the same title, “King of kings and Lord of lords,” is given to Christ Jesus in Revelation 19:16 (and a modification of this term is found in Revelation 17:14, which is also speaking of Jesus). Thus, we have a clear and obvious reference to the Deity of Jesus Christ.

Life application: Paul has once again said, clearly and unambiguously, that which is stated in Acts 1:7 and in 1 Thessalonians 5:1. We are not privy to the timing of the Lord’s return. That information belongs to God alone, and it will not be made known until it occurs. Rapture date setters are disobedient to the word of God. Do you think God will tell them when Christ is coming when they are already in disobedience to His word? Nah, not going to happen.

Precious heavenly Father, how good you are to us to have sent Christ Jesus as the atoning sacrifice for our sins. You have cleansed us in His precious blood, and You have reconciled us to Yourself. All You ask us to do is to believe. Christ died for our sins; He was buried; and He rose again, proving He had no sin of His own. By a simple act of faith in that, we are restored to You. Open eyes and hearts to this wonderful message, O God. And help us to be willing to share it so that those eyes and hearts can respond. Amen.

1 Timothy 6:14

Monday, 19 February 2018

…that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing, 1 Timothy 6:14

These words are tied to the beginning of the previous verse – “I urge you in the sight of God … that you keep this command without spot.” It is specifically speaking of this, but it may also be inclusive of the entire body of words thus far detailed since verse 11. Either way, Timothy is urged by Paul to hold fast to what has been commanded “without spot.” That means in an unsullied manner. The Greek word specifically speaks of that which is morally untainted. There should be no deviation from Paul’s charge, and it is to be carried out in a faithful and zealous manner. How good it would be if all of the Lord’s ministers acted in such a manner today!

Paul continues with the word “blameless.” This gives the sense of “above reproach.” There should never even be a hint that someone could bring a charge against him in light of the entire scope of his conduct. Any charge that may be brought would be found groundless. Such is the meaning of what Paul conveys now to Timothy.

With these points of character in mind, he then says that Timothy is to continue in this spotless and blameless state “until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing.” The word for “appearing” here is found only in Paul’s writings, and all of them are in the pastoral epistles with the exception of 2 Thessalonians 2:8. It is speaking of Christ’s literal appearance in a physical manifestation.

Timothy then stands representative of any and all ministers who would follow after him. They are to conduct themselves in the manner stated by Paul, and they are to guard against anything that would bring reproach upon themselves, and thus upon the church and the Lord Jesus Christ. They are to remain morally pure as they conduct their duties.

Life application: How sad it is that pastors and priests throughout the world have departed from the words of this admonition. Pulpits are filled with perverts, and immorality is found in what should be places of purity and holiness. How displeased with the church of today the Lord must be. To get an idea of what His attitude towards such behavior is, take the time to read the seven letters to the seven churches found in Revelation 2 & 3. A couple minutes of reading will show you the Lord’s displeasure at such things.

Lord God, if we want to know how You feel about the unholy conduct being condoned by pastors and churches today, all we need to do is to spend the five minutes it takes to read the seven letters to the seven churches in Revelation 2 & 3. If our hearts are still soft to what concerns You, we will then mourn over what is happening. Give us hearts and minds which are willing to stand against the great immorality found in the church, and to hold fast to Your eternal precepts. May we be found pleasing in Your sight, not caring what man thinks of our conduct, but only concerned about what You think of it! Amen.

1 Timothy 6:13

Sunday, 18 February 2018

I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate, 1 Timothy 6:13

Based on his words just given in the previous two verses, Paul now urges (or charges, as the word also signifies) “in the sight of God.” This is similar to the charge he gave in verse 5:21. Timothy is being reminded that everything which occurs, including Paul’s charge, is in the presence of God. He is there, He is watching, and Timothy is to remember this. He is to take to heart the words of instruction, and apply them steadfastly to his life and doctrine.

He then adds in a special thought concerning God. It is He “who gives life to all things.” God isn’t just a being who watches as things unfold, and who may direct things to happen as he sees fit, like a chess master. Rather, God is the Creator, and He is the Sustainer of all things. No matter what happens in this stream of time, God is there tending to the beings He created. For those who are in Christ, nothing can separate us from His eternal promises. Therefore, Timothy has no reason to fret over the awesome charges he has been given. He is simply to be obedient to them, and God will direct according to His wisdom.

Paul next adds in a second witness to his charge by saying, “and before Christ Jesus.” Jesus was named in the charge of verse 5:21 as well. Paul is not making a distinction between God and Christ Jesus by saying this, but rather is calling on the name of Christ Jesus as the Mediator between God and Man, and the One who is the example for man to God, and of God to man. As this is “in the sight of” Christ Jesus, it is an obvious reference to His omniscience and omnipresence. One cannot actually call a witness before a being which is not present, and who does not have knowledge of the witness.

From there, Paul says that it is “Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate.” There are two major views on what this actually means. The first is that He suffered under Pilate. He was a faithful witness to the truth of God, making His confession through the Cross of Calvary. In this confession is seen the love of the Father through His sacrifice. In this witness, there is found emulation in each faithful believer who is willing to follow Him even unto death. Revelation 1:5 gives this sense –

“…and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth.”

The second view is that the witness was before Pilate. He had spoken to the leaders of Israel, claiming that He was the Messiah, the Son of God (John 19:7). They then explained this to Pilate who then interrogated Him further. Christ Jesus made the good confession which is then the “warrant for the truthfulness of Timothy’s confession” (Vincent’s Word Studies).

What is probably the case is that Paul is referring to the entire sum of what occurred. Both His words and His actions became a united confession “before Pontius Pilate.”

It is of note that the mentioning of Pontius Pilate here is similar to many other early Christian writings where the crucifixion is connected to him. For this reason, it is assumed that Paul’s words are a part of a liturgical confession of early Christian believers.

Life application: As a Christian, are you willing to stand on the truth of Christ’s words and deeds as your own charge, and as your own confession? To what point will you follow through with this? Even to death itself? We have been given the example in Christ. Are we willing to follow that example as it was given if called upon to do so? Let us determine now that no matter what we are faced with, we will confess Christ unfailingly.

Lord God, were does our faith stand? Most of us have never been tested in it, but if we are someday faced with confessing Christ or giving up our life, will we be willing to follow His example even to death itself? He made the good confession, and so grant us the fortitude to also make the good confession of our faith if called upon to do so. May we never shy back from our faith and trust in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.