Tuesday after the Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: 1 Timothy 1:1-20 (NKJV)
1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope, 2 To Timothy, a true son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord. 3 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia—remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine, 4 nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith.
5 Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, 6 from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, 7 desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm. 8 But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, 9 knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.
12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, 13 although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14 And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.
15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. 16 However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
18 This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, 19 having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, 20 of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.
The Law was being misused by some false teachers in Ephesus. Apparently they were missing the point of the Law, even applying it improperly to the Christians, condemning believers as if they were continuing to live the unrestrained immoral lives of unbelievers. So St. Paul instructs Pastor Timothy to command these false teachers to stop this and to use the Law properly, namely, to expose and to condemn the sins of unbelievers, and to urge believers to practice works of love that flow “from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith.”
The Apostle Paul knew well how the Law works; it had once condemned him as a blasphemer and persecutor, as an insolent man, as a sinner, and as an unbeliever. He saw himself in the bright mirror of God’s Law as chief among sinners for his former way of life. But Paul also knew well the power of God’s grace in the message of the Gospel: that Christ Jesus came to save sinners like him, who deserved nothing but God’s wrath and punishment according to the Law.
Then Paul adds this comfort: God intends for Paul to serve as a pattern, as an example for all people, that all may know of the saving grace of God in Christ Jesus, Who died for the worst of the worst, so that all may believe in Him for everlasting life. This is the Gospel Timothy was to believe, teach, and confess.
Lord God, we praise You for revealing to us both Your Law and Your Gospel. Help us in our infirmity, so that, being comforted by Your Gospel, we may retain a good conscience and sincere faith, and thus be equipped to serve our neighbor in love. Amen.