JohnSWilson3 Blog

“now the end of the charge is love…”
July 17, 2014, 1:34 pm
Filed under: R - First Letter to Timothy

Paul described to Timothy and in his previous letter to the ecclesia in Ephesus that there is “a stewardship of God in faith.” The brothers and sisters in Ephesus know how to live by Christ; Paul was in Ephesus for years helping them live by Christ. They know Paul. Later while In Rome he wrote perhaps his most encouraging and enlightening seminal work in his letter to this ecclesia! But there are “certain” brothers and sisters over the years in this ecclesia who have wandered from Christ’s life, the world had captured their focus, teaching differently and debating one another in the body due to paying attention to those things that seem important in their world’s culture.

God’s eternal purpose, His stewardship, is to live, to work through a body, His ecclesia as she lives by faith together. That is essentially what the letter to the Ephesians was all about (and every letter in the New Testament). What does this look like among the brothers and sisters? Sacrificial selfless love. Love bleeds through every book and letter of Scripture! In every letter Paul deals with the many issues that confront the gatherings of God’s people but in every single letter the goal was love. Christ’s love. Love is the outcome or the goal, the end result of what Paul is charging or trying to get across these “certain persons!” It is “love out of a clean heart and good conscience and unfeigned faith.” (1)

When Christ Jesus is “the Lord of us” then His Spirit will give life through our spirits. And as He lives through our spirits He will always manifest sacrificial selfless love, “agape,” through our soul and body. This love comes from within our spirit and manifests itself outwardly through our soul and body. This love is none other than Christ Himself! Christ resides in His people in their spirits by His Spirit. He has cleansed us from within, our hearts, our will. He has cleansed our conscience and we are no longer condemned. (2) He has cleansed our understanding and mindset of this world and we no longer “lie to get by,” but live in the reality of the truth of who we are in Christ and live by faith, a faith that is sincere and genuine and without hypocrisy. But in reality it is Christ Himself who is the clean One, the good One and the genuine One! Christ in us is what makes our hearts clean, our consciences good, and our faith genuine!

Given this understanding of how God works in His people, Paul states that these brothers and sisters who are teaching differently than this, creating worldly debates in the gatherings are wandering from God’s purpose for His body. The word “missing aim” means to wander, to get off target or swerve out of line. (3) If you are driving down the road in a car in heavy traffic and swerve out of line the consequences can be devastating, even deadly. My son is currently learning how to drive, about to get his driver’s license. Let me say that it is a scary feeling to see my son swerve in the other line of traffic! I didn’t just sit there and do nothing but quickly let him know what he was doing so he could make his correction. I didn’t grab the wheel and fix the problem, he did it. So to in the body of Christ.

We must help each other hear Christ and follow Him, even if it means making corrections. Part of the problem in the ecclesias is how to make corrections. Too often it is done outside the context of relationships and done without respect. Let us hear Christ first. Corrections are always based on relationships. Perhaps Jesus gave us the answer: “between you and them alone,” if that doesn’t work “take with you one or two more” believers as a witness, and if that doesn’t work “tell it to the ecclesia.” (4) Timothy is told not to tell the gathering in Ephesus, but “certain persons.” Whether the “certain persons” like what Paul says or not does not matter, they must bear in mind that swerving out of line of God’s purpose in the gatherings is deadly to the life of the body. If we are going forward in the Lord we will have to deal with our fleshly issues that we are blind to. Those who correct us, even that not done in love, is meant to help us see our blind spots, and as we confess it and realize the delusion of it, we see how Christ is our reality, even in this that we were blind to, and He becomes our cleanser and we move forward anew with “a clean heart and good conscience and a genuine faith” having experienced Christ and His body anew and in a real way drawing the body closer together in Christ. The Father loves the Son in us and only wants to see His Son expressed by His Spirit.

The goal, the conclusion, the end result of this charge by Christ in Paul is selfless “love out of a clean heart and good conscience and a genuine faith.” This is the overarching goal for this first letter to Timothy.

(1) Alfred Marshall, The Interlinear KJV-NIV Parallel New Testament in Greek and English, 1975, The Zondervan Corporation, 613.

(2) T. Austin-Sparks, “What Is Man?” T. Austin-Sparks in his seminal work “What is Man?” describes how our spirit has “three faculties” of “conscience, communion and intuition” and states that “the main value” of the spirit is “spiritual apprehension.” In this first letter to Timothy as well as in his other letters, including his joint letter to Hebrews, you can see how Paul always goes back to learning to hear and follow Christ’s life together from our spirits. His letter to Timothy is no exception. This is Paul’s overarching thought for every letter he has ever written, under the inspiration of the Spirit. It is how God’s eternal purpose is accomplished, by His Spirit living in, to and through us to the praise and glory of God.


(4) Matthew 18:15-17.

2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Beautiful expression of Christ, brother!

Comment by Peter

appreciate the comments brother, amen, 🙂

Comment by John Wilson

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: