Monday, March 19, 2012

2 Timothy 1:3-7

The Apostle Paul having bestowed God's three-fold blessings on Timothy (and us all) now to encourage Timothy to live a life worthy of his calling, recalls his own faith heritage, a faith that is rooted in serving God with a pure conscience as his forefathers did (vs. 3). For those who have genuine faith in God always seek to purify their lives (1 John 3:2-3). God’s grace, mercy and peace does not annul that when He brings us into a relationship with Himself through faith in His Son (John 5:24). But grows our hunger for it. Yet this is not accomplished by works of the law (Rom. 9:30-33), which only leads to Phariseeism (Matt. 16:5-12; Luke 12:1-3) and or self righteousness (Luke 18:9-14), but by grace and truth which is exclusively found in Christ Jesus and His gospel and is exemplified by our living out the fruits of the Holy Spirit in our lives, rather then the old selfish and sinful nature (Gal. 5:16-23). Therefore the Apostle’s Paul’s exhortations here are not given as a cold and disconnected law removed from the realities of life, but are born out of a love and concern for Timothy. Just as a loving father admonishes his son so that his life might be all that it can be, so it is here. This is self evident for Paul says: “I thank God…” (for you) and “…without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day, 4 greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy, 5 when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also.” vs. 3-5
Even while writing bound in chains from a Roman prison, the Apostle Paul's heart and faith was not chained. Which is very important for us all to take note of because our faith and effectiveness for the Lord Jesus is never bound to our own life's circumstances, unless we let it be so. Therefore Paul's focus and concern was not on himself and his circumstances, rather Timothy's and the churches. Just as they are in all of the Apostle’s epistles (i.e. letters) being filled with a heart of love and concern for both (2 Cor. 11:28-29). For that is the true mark of Christ’s disciples, our love for each other (John 13:35). Therefore to emphasize one above the other is only to be out of balance. For both the Body and the individual believer are deeply loved by the Lord Jesus and thus should be by us all as well (Consider Matt. 18:12-14; Luke 15:1-7; 1 Peter 5:1-4). For the Apostle Paul’s own Holy Spirit guided and inspired teachings tell us that each and every member of Christ's Body is a loved, valued and needed member of the Body and thus nessecary for the Body to grow and function well as a whole (1 Cor. 12:12-27). There is then within Christ’s profound love for His bride the church, His profound love and concern for the individual believer (Matt. 25:31-46). That is the heart of God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, that none of His children be forgotten (Isaiah 48:15), abandoned (Heb. 13:5), or made to stumble (Mark 9:42). And so Paul becasue of Christ's love within him remembers Timothy in his prayers. As well as Timothy's own tears drawing comfort from them (though they are separate for a time), knowing that his affections and concern for him are mutual. 

Now Timothy grew up with two Godly influences; a mother named Eunice and a grandmother named Lois who like the Apostle Paul were Jewish and thus worshipped the one true God according to what was prescribed for the nation of Israel at that time. They then taught Timothy the basic moral precepts that are universal to Jew and Christian alike having their origins in the Ten Commandments. And thus though faith is not generational i.e. you don't pass onto your children saving faith; you can most certainly model it, teach it, and thus lay a solid ground work for it to take root in their own lives as well. And that is what Timothy's mother and grandmother did for him. Yet they like the Apostle Paul having come to faith In Jesus Christ they didn't have their hope in their own obedience to law, as if they could save themselves through that or anything else. Rather on Jesus Christ who fulfills the law for us all and imputes His righteousness to us, whether Jew or Gentile, when we believe in Him (See 2 Cor. 5:21; 2 Peter 1:1). That is why the Apostle Paul can say of them and of Timothy. That the genuine faith he saw in them he also saw in Timothy as well, for they were a Godly family no doubt, but they were not living their lives independent of God's Righteousness (consider Rom. 3:19-28). Rather they were trusting in Him through His Son Jesus Christ for their salvation. Therefore their lives were reflecting the choice they had made to follow and trust in Jesus Christ as Lord.
The Apostle Paul then having reminded Timothy of his own faith legacy to strengthen his faith now exhorts Timothy to stir up the gift of God within him that came through the Apostle Paul by his laying his hands on Timothy (vs. 6). A gift, it appears, to assist Timothy in overcoming his timidity in his preaching for Jesus Christ and the gospel. As the Apostle Paul says “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” vs. 7  Paul’s encouraging Timothy then was to help him see that through Christ we can do all things through Him who strengthens us (Phil. 4:13). For Timothy was not just a Pastor, rather he was called to do the specific work of evangelism (2 Tim. 4:5). Not because he was a gifted speaker; or well educated man; but because God called him to do so; that is why the Apostle Paul and other church elders laid their hands on him (1 Tim. 4:14). Therefore God had a plan and a purpose for Timothy and Timothy needed to be leaning on God for His Holy Spirit wisdom and power to be His witness. Just as we are when God calls us to overcome by His power and serve Him in whatever capacities He calls us to serve and witness for Christ in as well (Rev. 3:21). Which again so often has little or nothing to do with natural abilities, but rather Spirit giftedness. Now it is our privilege to not only believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and thus be saved by the grace of God; but also to suffer for Him (Phil. 1:29). For suffering the reproach of Jesus Christ is every believer’s privilege and destiny (John 15:18-25).

Scripture Quotations
The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982

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