Timothy is a man of high position in Gods Church. He is a man of God. He must give heed to the doctrine and to himself that he may save himself and those who hear him. I Tim. 4:16. This will require great endurance and strength over against the many, many temptations. These temptations are from within and from without.
We noticed in our former essay that Paul admonishes Timothy to “flee” from all love of money, of earthly gain and prestige and honor which is so much idolatry. He must flee this in his personal life. To do so he will need to run after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience and meekness. That will be a veritable contest, a running of a race keeping his eye upon, laying hold on, getting and keeping a good grasp on eternal life.
Unto this Timothy has been called by God.
He is a soldier in God’s army and must not get entangled with the affairs of this life!
It is really awe-inspiring the way in which Paul underscores this “command” to Timothy. For this is not merely some personal advice from Paul, which Timothy can take or leave at his own discretion, but it is the order which comes directly from the chief Potentate, from the Divine and glorified Christ to his servants.
In verses 13, 14 we read the following charge of Paul to Timothy, which reads: “I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession, that thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. . .”
Timothy must “keep” this commandment. The term keep in the Greek is “teerein.” This term in its current usage implies that one has in his possession something and that he must not lose it by giving it up; he must keep it and must prize it highly for his life’s sake, and no enemy of God and of His church may take it from him. He must keep this short formula, “Thou, O man of Godflee these thing and pursue after righteousness, godliness, etc. And then it is not immaterial how he keeps it. He must do so “without spot.” That is a negative way of stating that he must keep this commandment perfectly, he must do it in such a way that he does not defile it, and thus not lay hold on eternal life. He must not make common cause with those who seek the things below, neither in his teaching nor in his conduct. He must not in anyway so get involved in the sin of covetousness, love of money, that he loses his usefulness in God’s service, in the service of the heavenly King. He must not defile the garments of his office, but always be able to teach that godliness with contentment is great gain. Such must be the inner nature of his walk and conduct. Besides, he must keep this commandment so that he is unrebukable. The flesh in the members of the congregation, and the enemies of Christ and of Timothy as a true preacher of the word, must not be able to get their hooks into Timothy and say when he preaches the contentment of godliness “look at your own walk.” That would, once more, cause the name of God to be blasphemed. It would be au indication that Timothy took heed to the doctrine but not to himself. Thus his effectiveness as a minister would be gone.
There is a solemnity here which we must not overlook in Paul’s warning to Timothy. We refer to the “I give thee charge in the sight of God . . .” The term which Paul employs here for “give the charge” is worthy of notice in the Greek. The King James version translates more than one word in Greek by the English word “charge.” In I Thess. 5:17 Paul says: “I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read in all the churches.” Here the term charge is really I adjure thee, put you under oath before God. Repeatedly we read that Jesus charged his disciples not to tell that he was the Christ, or that he had performed a certain sign. Here the term is really (“diastellomai“) to give a distinct order, which was distinctly given and understood. In that sense it was an order, a charge. Here the term in the Greek is not that which Paul so often employs when he gives a charge (“diamarturomai”) to call God as a witness, to charge religiously (I Tim. 5:21; II Tim. 2:14, II Tim. 4:1). The term here is one which suggests the relationship of a superior to a. subordinate in the military ranks. It is the term which suggests that this is an order-from the Military Commander which must be passed along the line by the subordinates. This fine point we ought not overlook.
When we thus understand the term, “I charge,” we begin to see the implications of the addition: “in the sight of God and . . . Christ Jesus.” In passing we would point out that in this phrase there really is not any essential difference between God and Christ. As is indicated by the article in Greek with God (touTheou) and its absence with Christ Jesus, in the mind of the apostle Christ Jesus is really coequal and co-eternal with God. He who is in the “sight of God” is such because he is this in God in Christ. Not only is this evident from the article referred to, but this is equally evident from what follows in the text concerning the “appearance of Christ” as the only and blessed Potentate, who only hath immortality, etc. The “order” which Paul gives Timothy and which must be passed on along the entire line of the ranks of the ministry even today, is from God in Christ, who stands between the seven candlesticks and who has the seven stars in his right hand. It is this glowing conviction and truth which impels Paul thus to write to Timothy as “man of God.
Particularly noteworthy is what Paul writes concerning God and concerning Christ Jesus. And what he writes is a motive for keeping the commandment spotlessly and irreproachably.
Let us try to see each of these in their own proper light.
Writes Paul concerning God: “who quickeneth all things.” There are those who desire to refer this to the fact that God gives the life of regeneration and of the blessed resurrection in Christ’s day. Although this is true in itself and the teaching of Scripture in many parts, the question may well be raised whether Paul has this in mind here in this passage. The context rather suggests that Paul has in mind that God is the One who gives life to “all things” in the entire universe. He rules all things by His counsel and providence. Besides, we might point out that the term, “who quickeneth” is a rather peculiar term which does not suggest “bring forth into life from death” but rather that of creative bringing forth of life, giving birth to life. The construction in the Greek text is such that emphasis is placed on the essential character of God rather than on the acts of God; or if you will, the character and essential nature of God, as the fountain of life, as manifested in all of creation and in “all things.” The term “zoogoneoo” is used here in this text and in Acts 7:19. In this latter passage the term is used to indicate the evil purpose and intent of the Egyptian policy of casting out the young children (males) so that they might not live, that is, might not bring forth childrenand thus multiply exceedingly. We conclude, therefore, that the text under consideration, translated “quickeneth all things” refers to God’s giving life and breath and all things. Acts 17.
Who does here not think involuntarily of that tremendous word of God to Job, when he speaks to him in a theophany (“out of the whirlwind”), in which address, as in mighty crescendo he points out his own divine greatness in every creature which he has made, thus subjugating Job in the dust? The poetic grandeur of God’s self-defense (?) would be marred if we tried to give it in our own prose. Listen to God speak to Job, and stand in awe before him: “Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up thy loins like a man: for I will demand of thee and answer thou me. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth as if it had issued out of a womb. . . . Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail, which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war? By what way is the light parted, which scattereth the east wind upon the earth? Who hath divided a watercourse for the overflowing of waters, or a way for the lightning of thunder, to cause it to rain on the earth where no man is; on the wilderness where there is no man, to satisfy the desolate and waste ground, and cause the bud of the tender herb to spring forth?”
How utterly man is dependent upon God who quickeneth all things. Says He: “Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of (Orion? Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons . . . .Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds, that the abundance of waters may cover thee? Canst thou send lightnings, that they may go, and say unto thee: here we are!! . . . . Who provideth the raven his food? when his young ones cry to God, they wander for lack of meat.”
Even in the most common place God revealed His majesty and power by the things made. Hear Him describe a horse as he gives him life: ‘hast thou given the horse strength? hast thou clothed his neck with thunder? Canst thou make him afraid as a grasshopper? The glory of His nostrils is terrible. He paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth in his strength: he goeth on to meet the armed men. He mocketh at fear, and is not affrighted; neither turneth he back from the sword. The quiver rattleth against him, and glittering spear and the shield. . . . . He saith among the trumpets: ha, ha; and he smelleth the battle afar off, the thunder of the captains and the shouting. . . .” Job 38, 39.
Must I still call attention to the fact that the Lord sitteth upon the flood, yea, the Lord sitteth King forever?Psalm 29.
Small wonder, that, in this world of greed and lust for money and idolatry of every kind, Paul calls attention to God who “brings forth all life” as the motive for seeking righteousness, godliness, faith and to lay hold on eternal life. It is to see God from the vantage-point of Job lying in the dust and saying: Behold I am vile: and what shall I answer thee, I will lay my hand upon my mouth, once have I spoken, yea, twice, but I will proceed no farther.
Here a preacher too prays: give us this day our daily bread. Here the Christian is content in godliness, ending not in the gift but in the GIVER!
He who sees God as the One who gives all life and acknowledges Him as such, he is rich in God. Such must be the race we run; such is eternal life, the contentment of godliness, whether one is bond or free. He sings not so loudly, “this is my country,” but when the strains of “this is my Father’s world” reach his ear in lyric notes, then his heart expands as do the tender buds in the spring-time.
Pass the word along to keep the charge of fleeing love of money and to pursue righteousness in the sight of the God who bringeth forth all life, yea, who hast clothed the horse’s neck with thunder.