Thursday after the Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: 1 Timothy 3:1-16 (NKJV)
3:1 This is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; 3 not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; 4 one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence 5 (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); 6 not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. 7 Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
8 Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money, 9 holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience. 10 But let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless.
11 Likewise their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things.
12 Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. 13 For those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a good standing and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
14 These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly; 15 but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. 16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:
God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory.
Verse 16 proclaims that Jesus was “justified in the Spirit.” Some hold that if Jesus was justified, then all of sinful humanity was justified in Christ apart from faith.
To connect the entire sinful world to Christ apart from faith, however, is to force a man-made philosophical thought upon Holy Scripture—and worst of all, it is unfaithful to Holy Scripture. It is to make God say something He does not say. God’s Word doesn’t rely on philosophy; the Holy Spirit reveals spiritual understanding through God’s Word of truth where and when He pleases, and the gift of God-created faith simply believes God’s Word.
Many qualifications for the Ministry are made clear in this text, one of them being “holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience.” Yet, even when they know it to be false, some pastors hold to false teachings for the sake of a denominational triumphalism on Earth. How can they have “a pure conscience?”
By God’s grace the pastors of our fellowship have held the mystery of the faith, rightly proclaiming justification, not apart from faith, but as only coming through faith alone in the fully atoning merits of Christ Jesus. By God’s grace they do this, not only for the sake of having “a pure conscience,” but for the conscience of the flocks entrusted to them as well. Thanks be to God, indeed!
We pray: Almighty and Everlasting God, give to us the increase of faith, hope, and love, and that we may obtain what You promise, make us to love what You command; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.