Paul wrote a letter to Timothy helping him understand better the Christian life. Not only was he to know the truth’s of God’s Word, but he was to live them out in his life. His life was to be an example for anyone whom he met of a Christ-like life. It would not always be easy, but Timothy was to remain faithful.
Paul wanted Timothy to understand these things – for he was in a warfare. “18. This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; 19. Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck” (1 Timothy 1:18-19). Warfare means “military service; dangers; trials; a warfare; hardships.” Paul wanted Timothy to understand that it would not be easy, but that it would take much work – as a soldier in a battle having to deal with trials, hardships, and dangers.
- Faith means “good faith; faithfulness; sincerity.”
- Conscience means “the testimony of the Spirit in man’s heart concerning his obligation to God; i.e.: good conscience means ‘conscious of integrity.’”
- Put away means “to thrust away from oneself; repel; reject; cast off.”
Paul drew attention to the fact that “some” had not warred a good warfare but had put away the faith – not remaining faithful or sincere. Timothy had to be sure that not only was he to be careful in his teachings (making sure he was true to God’s Word), but that he was to never forsake the truths of God’s Word (as some obviously had), living a contrary lifestyle. When one declares that he is a Christian, telling others about Jesus becoming a vocal witness, and then turns and rejects the truths of God’s Word living a life contrary to what it teaches, then they have “made shipwreck.” For it would have been better if they had never declared they were a Christian. It does much damage to the body of Christ.
To live a right Christian life is a warfare – a daily battle that must be won.
Part of living a right Christian life is to know what the Bible teaches. More importantly, a Christian is to be able to defend the truths of God’s Word. Paul warned that there would be those who would depart from the faith. “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (1 Timothy 4:1). Here we find a warning that in the “latter times” some would “depart from the faith.” Depart means “of ones who stood away from God, never having belonged to Him; they stood away from believing; those who refuse to believe, who stand aloof, alone.” Instead of believing in Jesus and the truths of God’s Word, they will choose to believe in false teaching. These false teachings are to be refused. But more than that, right things (good doctrine) are to be taught. “If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained” (1 Timothy 4:6). Christians are to constantly know and remember the truths of God’s Word so that when false teaching is heard; “thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ.” For that Christian will recognize and reject the false teaching.
What Christians are to do in preparation? “7. But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. 8. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come” (1 Timothy 4:7-8).
- Exercise means “to train in godliness.”
- Godliness means “… reverence and love of God’s character and the exercise of these affections in obedience to His will and devotion to His service is the principal and foundational part. When applied to the Christian life, it symbolizes a life that is acceptable to Christ. This involves both the attitude of the believer toward Christ who saved him and a manner of life. “Exercise thyself rather to godliness” does not come automatically, but is something into which one must put forth much effort. It is contrasted to physical exercise for it has a far greater and wider usefulness while physical exercise has limited usefulness.”
Paul wrote what must be done to accomplish this. “12. Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 13. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine” (1 Timothy 4:12-13). Paul encouraged Timothy to continue – and not to let anyone undermine the work God had for him – even when people said he was too young to do the work God had for him. Anyone can live for and serve God – no matter what the age. Timothy was not only to tell others about Jesus, teaching the truths of God’s Word, he must live them as well. That goes for every Christian. Remember that each Christian is to live a life so that any who see them will recognize Jesus. Christians who are faithful to the truths of God’s Word, especially in lifestyle, are imperative.
Do you exercise yourself unto godliness, living out the truths of God’s Word?