Friday in the Fifteenth Week of Ordinary Time

1 Timothy 1:1-5

The Aim of Our Charge

These three letters of Paul to Timothy and Titus are called, “The Pastorals,” because they are largely personal in nature written to two of Paul’s younger and much beloved co-laborers whom he had nurtured in the faith over several years.  They were here acting as his personal and apostolic liaisons sent to the churches in Ephesus (Timothy) and Crete (Titus) to correct aberrations which were nothing less than departures from the gospel of grace.  These “pastorals” will forever remain gems for both pastors and churches in the practical instructions they provide that we “may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the Church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth” (3:15).

So we begin with Paul’s first letter to Timothy.  Timothy was at the church in Ephesus (1:3) when this letter was written (A.D. mid 60’s).  In Paul’s earlier letter to the Ephesians (A.D. 62), it is difficult to grasp what exactly the problem was in the church, unless it was that some there were tempted to fall back into sexual immorality and other sins for which Paul took the time to warn them (5:1-21).  In the book of Revelation, written towards the end of the first century by the Apostle John, the problem at Ephesus is that they had departed from “the love [they] had at first” (2:4).  In this letter to Timothy, the problem at Ephesus is with false teachers who were “devot[ing] themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith.”  What a reminder this is to us that churches are always prey to the devil for some kind of deception, be it to immorality, loveless attitudes and behaviors, or even mindless speculations that produce nothing but haughtiness and dissension.  We must always be on our guard.

But Paul provides the remedy which he words so beautifully: “The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a clear conscience and a sincere faith.”  Love is the result of our regeneration, our rebirth through the work of the Holy Spirit.  The new birth produces in us a pure heart; that is, a heart cleansed of sin through the blood of Christ issuing in divine forgiveness.  This has the further effect of clearing the conscience as the newborn believer need no longer brood over his sins as sin’s guilt is removed.  The third effect of the new birth is a sincere faith; that is, a panting for godliness and closer walk with the Lord (Psalm 42:1).  From these three—purity of heart, cleansing of conscience, and sincerity of faith—how can love not pour forth in streams of gratitude?  And this is our charge.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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