In the ministry there are many false teachers who are in it for their own personal gain and recognition. Paul ends his first letter to Timothy encouraging him to remain faithful – “But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses… O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge— by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith.”
Paul also writes a letter to Titus, who Paul left on Crete, so that he would “set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you.” Paul warns Titus of the false teachers who are teaching what “ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain… They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.”
Paul exhorts Titus to rebuke the false teachers and to promote right teaching. “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”
Paul says that once we all were “foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
Paul concludes his letter to Titus telling him to “avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless. Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned.”
We end today’s reading with Paul writing another letter to Timothy shortly before his death in Rome, around 64 AD, during the persecution of Nero. Paul, probably knowing that death is near, encourages Timothy to stand firm in his faith, “which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also. Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.”
More from Paul to Timothy tomorrow. Keep reading.
(1 Timothy 6:11-21, Titus 1:1-3:15, 2 Timothy 1:1-18)