Saturday in the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time

1 Timothy 6:11-12

Take Hold of Eternal Life

That’s my favorite line in this passage.  It reminds me of John Bunyan’s classic, The Pilgrim’s Progress, when Christian, in desperation because of those in the City of Destruction tempting him to stay and harassing him for wanting to leave, finally puts his fingers in his ears and runs away in hopes of finding the Celestial City, screaming, “Eternal life! Eternal Life!” 

So now as Paul rushes to the end of this letter to his beloved son in the faith, his greatest desire is to encourage him and urge him forward to godly living: “But as for you, O man of God, flee these things.”  The things about which the Apostle just spoke consisted of the love of money and gain and the destruction to which these things lead.  But we may assume that Paul is speaking of everything he has included in this letter: Endless quarrels over words, genealogies, myths, rules about diets and ascetical practices, in other words, all those things which draw one away from the substance, which is Christ (Colossians 2:17).  Instead he implores young Timothy to “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness”—things that matter.  “Righteousness” here concerns the kind of life one expects from one made righteous by God.  “Godliness” speaks to that life which is fully consecrated to God and so lived before others.  “Faith” used here means trust, “love” is the outward expression of that faith towards others, “steadfastness” speaks to that quality so necessary in the life of a Christian that it becomes a character trait which is the ability to endure, and “gentleness” speaks to meekness and moderation, and lowliness of heart (WBC, 354). 

Then Paul exhorts Timothy like a general to a soldier: “Fight the good fight of faith.”  The Christian life is a struggle; indeed, it is a war.  There are always the world, the flesh (one’s sinful nature), and the devil, and when one lightens up it is only so that the other two can step in.  If your life is easy, something is wrong.  This means you have become complacent and sin has settled deep within you and taken root; otherwise you have become a great saint, which you should doubt.  And do you need a reason to fight?  How about eternal life?  You are headed towards a great and wonderful land of purity and glory.  Let go of the things which hold back.  Like Christian, put your fingers in your ears and scream, “Eternal life! Eternal life!”  Listen to no one who would hinder you, spurn the things which tempt you, and despise that which draws you away from God.  Remember the confession of faith you made before the church and pursue godliness.  That’s an order.

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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